Point Nepean wins Golden Ticket into 2022 Lexus Melbourne Cup

14 May 2022 Written by VRC

The most successful racing colours in Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) history will be represented in the $8 million feature once again after Point Nepean produced a gutsy win in the Listed Lexus Andrew Ramsden (2800m) at Flemington today, earning a guaranteed place in the ‘race that stops a nation’™.

Prepared by two-time Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Robert Hickmott for an ownership group helmed by seven-time Cup winner Lloyd Williams, Point Nepean – a four-year-old from Ireland having just his fifth Australian start and his seventh overall – took the lead before straightening and managed to fend off gallant grey Luncies to triumph by three-quarters of a length.

Through Irish Eyes, who won the Listed VRC St Leger (2800m) last year, finished third, just ahead of Penfolds Victoria Derby (2500m) hero Warning.

It was Williams’ second Lexus Andrew Ramsden winner after What A Nuisance took the race, then the Duke Of Norfolk Stakes, in 1984. He would return in 1985 to score a memorable success in the Melbourne Cup.

Today’s Lexus Andrew Ramsden represented the biggest victory in the fledgling career of apprentice rider Alana Kelly, marking her first stakes win. The 22-year-old is now in the frame to partner Point Nepean in the Lexus Melbourne Cup at what would be her first ride in the feature.

The Lexus Andrew Ramsden is the first of five races to offer a golden ticket to the winner into the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup on Tuesday 1 November.

The undercard produced two other stunning performances, the first from $1.2 million debutant winner Doull and the second from Flash Feeling, whose majority owner Marcus Jacobson donated 10 per cent of his winnings to Craig Williams.

Williams and wife Larysa are delivering more medical supplies to the Ukraine border in coming weeks with an appeal launched by the rider at today’s meeting.

Victoria Racing Club Executive General Manager Leigh Jordon said the Lexus Andrew Ramsden produced a winner worthy of a spot in the Lexus Melbourne Cup in November.

“Once again, the Lexus Andrew Ramsden has delivered a terrific race and a winner who looks poised to figure on the road to the Lexus Melbourne Cup.”  - Leigh Jordon

“Our strategy with the Lexus Andrew Ramsden is to unearth a young stayer on the rise and, in Point Nepean, we have the perfect candidate. He’s only had seven starts, he’s now won four of them and he still looks as though he has so much improvement ahead of him.

“For the lucky connections of Point Nepean, they now have the luxury of placing him accordingly over the next six months, knowing that they are guaranteed a start on the first Tuesday in November.

“For those that didn’t qualify today, Flemington hosts two more opportunities to earn a golden ticket into the Cup via the Lexus The Bart Cummings (2500m) on Saturday 1 October and the Lexus Hotham Stakes (2500m) on Saturday 29 October.”  

This is the fourth year that the Lexus Andrew Ramsden offers a guaranteed place in the Lexus Melbourne Cup, with previous winners Steel Prince (2019) and Oceanex (2020) both finishing in the prizemoney in Australia’s greatest race.

Racegoers enjoyed the day from the warmth of the Flemington stands, with the VRC Punters Club popular in The Peak and members taking a seat in Club Stand restaurants including The Dining Room and Straight Six.

Living Legend and Lexus Melbourne Cup winner Almandin – a horse that Point Nepean’s co-owner Nick Williams believes that the Lexus Andrew Ramsden winner is most alike - was a special equine guest at Flemington alongside retired super sprinter Santa Ana Lane, who now has a Winter Series named in his honour.

The second heat of the Santa Ana Lane Sprint Series was won by Easy Single, who is now ballot-exempt from the final to be contested on Flemington Finals Day on Saturday 2 July.

Flemington will host VRC National Jockeys Trust Race Day next Saturday 21 May.