Golden Ticket attracts quality stayers

8 May 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

A quality field is assembling ahead of the Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington on Saturday, with a Golden Ticket into the Lexus Melbourne Cup on the line.

Selino, Lunar Flare, Hezashocka, Alakahan and Herman Hesse all stand-out amongst the nominations, and along with Melbourne Cup favourite White Marlin we're set for a classic staying showdown.

2022 Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are tackling the race with up to three runners. Alakahan and Herman Hesse are definite starters for the co-trainers of last year's Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip with Cadre Du Noir also a chance to contest the 2800-metre event.

White Marlin will most likely start a short-priced favourite despite suffering the first defeat of his career in the 2000m William Newton VC Handicap last time out, but Eustace is happy to take him on.

"He got rolled the other day (when) he had every chance, there didn't appear to be any excuses, so I don't see why not," Eustace said when asked if any of his trio were capable of upsetting the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained import.

Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare, last-start Mornington Cup runner-up Hezashocka and last year's ATC Oaks winner El Patroness are among others headed to the Ramsden Stakes, which carries not only $500,000 in prizemoney but also a Melbourne Cup exemption.

Herman Hesse finished immediately behind Hezashocka in the Mornington Cup at his most recent appearance and has been sharpened up over jumps since.

"He had a jumps trial, which is great because he goes a bit hard in his trackwork and it did him the world of good to do that. He ran well in the Mornington Cup and will relish the step up in trip, I think", said Eustace.

A decision will be made during the week whether Cadre Du Noir attempts to turn his form around in the Ramsden Stakes, but Alakahan will be given his shot after hitting the line stoutly to beaten less than four lengths when seventh in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m).

"He was bought to go jumping, but he's just running well on the flat. Ciaron was actually quite bullish about him (before the Sydney Cup), he's quite a good horse but his form's been mixed."

A Golden Ticket

Leigh Jordon, the Victoria Racing Club’s Executive General Manager of Racing spoke to on Sunday and believes that it’s been a successful move to make the race a Melbourne Cup ballot exempt event.

“I’d say, if you look at pre-becoming ballot exempt, definitely the quality has lifted for sure,” Jordon said.

Jordon also explained the tweak to the age restrictions for the Andrew Ramsden, which had previously been limited to horses between three and five years of age but is now open to three-year-old gallopers and those above that age.

“We wanted an up-and-coming stayer to win it, but I think now, the race is so established, we don’t need an age restriction on it anymore,” he said.

The Andrew Ramsden Stakes is the second Melbourne Cup ballot-exempt race to be run this year at Flemington following the Roy Higgins Quality in March, which was won by Goldman.

Jordon noted that the two races have been successful in generating discussion about the race that stops a nation, despite it being several months away in the calendar.

“You’re already discussing the Melbourne Cup and we’re six months away,” Jordon said.

“I think that the Roy Higgins did that and now the Andrew Ramsden will do it.”

The road to the Lexus Melbourne Cup continues on Saturday 13 May when The Listed Lexus Andrew Ramsden provides another opportunity to win a Golden Ticket into Australia's most famous thoroughbred race. Tickets selling fast, don't miss out!