Andrew Ramsden contender Persan

Persan winning The Bart Cummings at Flemington on 3 October 2020

Quality field to vie for Cup golden ticket

This Saturday will see a quality field of stayers vie for a guaranteed start in the 2021 Lexus Melbourne Cup in Listed race The Andrew Ramsden (2800m) at Flemington.

Trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are represented by three runners including Persan who ran fifth in last year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup, last start Listed VRC St Leger winner Through Irish Eyes and progressive stayer Grand Promenade.

Lexus Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Danny O’Brien brings 2019 Kennedy Oaks winner Miami Bound to the race while Australia’s leading trainer Chris Waller is represented by Mohican Heights.

This is the third year that the $400,000 race offers ballot exemption in the Lexus Melbourne Cup, with previous winners of The Andrew Ramsden in Steel Prince (2019) and Oceanex (2020) performing commendably in Australia’s greatest race.

Earlier in the day, Race 3 the $125,000 Breeders' Handicap (1000m) has attracted an interesting field including Flemington-trained Chicago Cub who is first up from a spell; his first up record is impressive with two wins and a third placing from four starts. Favourite in the race is last start Flemington winner Sartorial Splendor.

Group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes winner Ranting headlines Race 7, the Royal Ascot Silver Bowl for three-year-olds. He faces last start Sandown winner Altai Ranger along with Rathlin, Vibrant Glider and Winsum, among others.

Flemington-trained Viral is narrow favourite in Race 8, the very competitive open 1400m handicap Congratulations ARHOF Inductees. Other fancied runners include last start Listed placegetter Riddle Me That, Group 3 winner Reykjavik, and Yulong January.

The Andrew Ramsden is the highlight of the nine-race card this Saturday, which also sees Flemington’s popular winter race series begin with six of nine opening heats.

The winter race series allows horses and connections the chance to compete for generous winter racing prizemoney at Flemington with the Next Generation Sprinters Series for two-year-olds added to the list in 2020.

The remaining opening heats will be run on National Jockeys Trust Race Day next Saturday at Flemington with the winter series culminating in championship races on Flemington Finals Day on 3 July, 2021.

The program begins at 11:45am. Many race names on Andrew Ramsden Race Day acknowledge the VRC’s strong strategic alliances with international race clubs including Goodwood, York, The Curragh, Ascot and Breeders’ Cup.