Persan winning from Sound and Steel Prince (Image: Racing Photos)

Persan grabs Lexus Melbourne Cup spot

From seemingly nowhere, Persan has a prized spot in this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup via his Bart Cummings win at Flemington on Saturday.

The Group 3 victory was the sixth win for Persan for the preparation, which began back in April with a placing in a maiden at Wangaratta.

The four-year-old, who is trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, immediately firmed from $101 to $21 in the market for the Lexus Melbourne Cup on November 3.

He had not qualified for the race and has the limit weight of 50 kilograms in the Lexus Melbourne Cup, although he is liable for a penalty for his Bart Cummings win over Sound and Steel Prince.

Persan will need a new rider too as Jye McNeil is already committed to Twilight Payment in the Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Starting at $10, Persan found the line strongly to overhaul $15 chance Sound, with Steel Prince ($7.50) running another consistent race for third just ahead of $5.50 chance Schabau and $5 favourite Shared Ambition.

McNeil must give up the Persan ride for the rest of the spring as he already has other bookings for the Caulfield Cup and Lexus Melbourne Cup, but he said he was sure the horse was capable of figuring in both races.

"He's been fantastic to me and the owners. Dave and Ciaron, they've done a terrific job keeping him up and going for so long. I guess everyone overlooked him today and I was a little bit concerned about the dry track, but he went fantastic," McNeil said.

"He's just been a horse that has improved all the time.

"With those types of horses it's hard to know where the limit is. He keeps raising the bar and he's earned himself a nice little spot in this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup.

"I'm aboard Twilight Payment (in the Lexus Melbourne Cup) and that'd be right, the year that I can get a ride in the Lexus Melbourne Cup, I've got two."

Eustace was thrilled to clinch a Lexus Melbourne Cup spot with such a horse.

"He's an amazing horse," he said. "I can't thank the team enough. It's a huge effort. I think he won his maiden in March and they've kept him going the whole way through. The whole team: Dec, Lucy, Gilly, Nicky, who rides him every day. Just really very proud of them, proud of the horse, he's incredible.

"He's changed a lot. He's a much more relaxed horse and that's taken him a long way. It's great."

Eustace said he was of the opinion the horse was best on softer ground, but he had no trouble with Flemington's Good-rated surface.

"His form is on Soft ground and I thought he'd love to get his toe in but obviously he doesn't. I'm happy to be wrong," he said.

"The whole way through we said that we just wanted to get him in a race with a decent tempo. We thought we'd see a better horse for that and he'd finally got that today.

"He got a beautiful ride from Jye, who's got a great association with the horse. We've got to get him to stay two miles now, but he switches off lovely and he's got tactical speed.

"He's going to be in with a low weight. We've just got to find a jockey now.

"It's great for the whole team and it creates a real buzz around the yard. We won't mind that there's no one here to watch it."