Etymology was an easy winner at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)

Etymology emphatically sheds bridesmaid tag

Etymology is usually among the minor placegetters but the six-year-old gelding shed his non-winning tag emphatically in the $120,000 Happy Holidays Handicap (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday.

Ridden to victory by Ben Melham for Godolphin's Australian head trainer James Cummings, Etymology ($3.70 favourite) overcame heavy interference on the home turn to win by an ever-widening 4.75 lengths.

Lycurgus ($5) settled in second position and held down that spot to the finish ahead of topweight Berisha ($5.50) who worked into third.

"He was really impressive today, really genuine," Melham said.

"I was looking to come to the outside of the two leaders on straightening, just to get off the inside, but he got a big bump there and had to revert back to the inside.

"It (the bump) really switched him on, he was strong through the line."

WATCH: Etymology's win

The son of New Approach has now raced 30 times for three wins and 13 placings.

Etymology has been placed four times in Stakes company, including a runner-up finishes in the 2015 VRC Derby and 2016 South Australian Derby at Group 1 level.

His first win at metropolitan level came on Saturday at his 27th attempt, with his previous wins at Pakenham Synthetic and Moruya.

Cummings has been active on Twitter on Saturday with Etymology the centre of his attention.

Etymology is expected to have his next run in the $160,000 Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) at Flemington on New Year's Day.

Damien Oliver, who rode runner-up Lycurgus, and Mark Zahra, aboard third-placed Berisha, were pleased with the performances of their mounts. Both Lycurgus and Berisha are likely to run in the Bagot.

John Allen suggested Andrea Mantegna ($9) didn't stay the 2500m while apprentice Fred Kersley has concerns Pilote d'Essai ($9) may be feeling the effects of an old tendon injury.

Pilote d'Essai finished seventh in the nine-horse field while Andrea Mantegna ran last.