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Ad Lunar Flare wins the Lexus Andrew Ramsden in May 2023, booking her place in the Lexus Melbourne Cup. (George Sal/Racing Photos)

Lunar Flare kicks off Cup campaign

5 September 2023 Written by Trent Crebbin – Racing & Sports

Grahame Begg’s eight-year-old mare Lunar Flare will commence her Lexus Melbourne Cup campaign in Saturday’s Feehan Stakes at Moonee Valley.

After last year's heartbreak of having what would've been his first Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) runner scratched on race day with a bruised heel, Grahame Begg has his sights on redemption with Lunar Flare to be aimed solely at the race that stops a nation.

The daughter of 2013 Cup winner Fiorente has once again earnt a ballot free spot in the field by winning the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) by 5.5 lengths in May and Begg has plotted what he feels to be the best path to Flemington.

"She runs next week in the Feehan, two weeks after that in the Underwood and then two weeks after that in the Turnbull Stakes. That'll determine whether we run in the Cox Plate or we may have to go to maybe the Caulfield Cup but she'd be risking a penalty there," Begg said.

"We're very happy with her, she's prepping up well. She trialled beautifully, she doesn't know [her age]!" - Grahame Begg

Weight-for-age and set weights races are exempt from Melbourne Cup penalties and so Begg is keen to pitch up at some strong contests before hopefully dropping in weight when getting to the two miles.

"We've got a few choices of what we want to go to… because the fact is, you get penalties, they come into play," Begg said.

(George Sal/Racing Photos)

Lunar Flare has had two Cranbourne trials in readiness for Saturday's Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m), which incidentally carries a ballot free exemption into the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and Begg is pleased with what he's seen from the now eight-year-old.

"We're very happy with her, she's prepping up well. She trialled beautifully, she doesn't know [her age]!", Begg said.

As for Saturday, Begg is hopeful of a good run with regular jockey Michael Dee booked to ride and is hopeful the in-form jockey will stick with her throughout the Spring.

"You never know, with the good horses if they overdo it up front which they could possibly, you've got Globe in the race you've got Goldman in the race that roll forward so you never know."

Lunar Flare is a $15 chance with the TAB (pre-noms) for this year's Melbourne Cup.

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