Amade, ridden by Ben Allen, wins at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)
From the sublime to the ridiculous, Amade's Lazarus-like return from potential career-threatening injury was followed by a remarkable pre-post quote for this year's Lexus Melbourne Cup.
Amade was having his second start for Phillip Stokes, returning from pelvis and tendon injuries which required more than 12 months of rehabilitation, when winning the $135,000 William Newton VC Handicap (2600m) at Flemington at Anzac Day.
OTI Racing acquired the Casamento gelding after a series of positive performances on all-weather tracks in France and Britain. He won the G2 Belmont Gold Cup (3219m) in the United States three months later and Amade's first black type victory saw him promoted to a $31 chance for the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup.
But Amade's injury issues commenced and OTI Racing transferred him to Australia, Amade entrusted to Stokes where he ran fourth in the $160,000 G3 Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield 15 days ago at his local debut, before his Flemington breakthrough.
Amade defeated Mohican Heights by 1.75 lengths with Mawaany Machine a further three-quarters of a length away in third.
“To get a result like this second-up is better than expected," Stokes said.
“He’s been with our team for quite a while but he’s been with our team for about a year. He was down at Warrnambool doing a bit of rehabilitation work and it’s just good that he’s come this far this quickly.
“He’s been a very sound horse back at the stable. I think when he came into the mounting yard last time he was called a fat pig! He’s done a good job."
It means that Amade, now a seven-year-old gelding who is yet to pass the first ballot clause for the 2021 Lexus Melbourne Cup, is the shortest-priced Australian-based horse for the Lexus Melbourne Cup.
Amade is unable to contest the $400,000 Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington on May 16 as the race, which offers the winner ballot free exemption for the Lexus Melbourne Cup, since 2019 is only eligible for horses aged three to five.
“I’m probably going to have to send him to the paddock for a break now and try and set him for a Lexus Melbourne Cup," Stokes said.
Those who have enthusiastically taken the $21 available for the Lexus Melbourne Cup will be holding Stokes to his word between now and the first Tuesday in November.