Lexus for Caravan

Geelong Cup winner Caravan Rolls On is a likely starter in Saturday’s Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m), trainer Danny O’Brien says.

The $26 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) shot is at 27 in the order of entry for the race that stops the nation, following the withdrawal of The Offer on Tuesday and is currently relying on attrition to line-up in the 24-horse field.

O’Brien said the seven-year-old entire had come through the Geelong Cup (2400m) well and was pleased with the improvement the galloper had taken from the run.

“I think it would be an outside hope for him to get a run [in the Cup], unless there is significant attrition, so at this stage he will definitely be running in the Lexus,” O’Brien said.

“In saying that, if he can’t win the Lexus he probably can’t win the Melbourne Cup.”

The Lexus path has precedence for Cup success, with the Mark Kavanagh-trained Shocking taking out the double in 2009 and Maluckyday victorious in the 2010 Lexus and backing-up to claim second in the Melbourne Cup that year.

“It’s an achievable aim and for a horse trained here at Flemington it’s probably a bit easier,” O’Brien said.

“There’s good improvement in the horse [since Geelong] and certainly to my eye, he looks to have made it; he’s a very happy horse and we’re expecting to run very well in whatever he steps out in next.”

O’Brien said Admire Rakti would be the biggest threat to the Caravan in the Cup, believing the Japanese import would carry “significant” improvement by the time he lines up on the first Tuesday in November.

“The Melbourne Cup, for the last 150-odd-years, has been open to all-comers and if you have your horse there and he is good enough to get in the field and he’s got enough weight, he gets a run,” O’Brien said.

“The fact that it is opened up globally is a good thing, just I suppose, we need to get better and better horses in order to get in.”

O’Brien will also saddle-up Bondeiger in the AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) on Saturday.

The trainer said Bondeiger, who is on the fourth line of betting at $9 with TAB fixed odds, had had a “perfect” lead-up to the Derby and was confident in the colt’s chances. Bondeiger finished seventh of 11 last-start in the Moonee Valley Vase (2040m).

“The Derby has been on the agenda for him for six months now,” O’Brien said.

“He ran very well in the Vase last Saturday, he’s come through it very well and if he has some luck he’ll be right in the finish of the Derby.”

Story by Laura Banks, to view full story click here

Photo by Darryl Shearer


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