Rank outsider wins Cup lead-in but runner-up will enter race that stops the nation instead

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Rank outsider wins Cup lead-in but runner-up will enter race that stops the nation instead

By Damien Ractliffe

The connections of Geelong Cup winner Amade said they’re unlikely to press onto the Melbourne Cup, but runner-up Ashrun has all but booked his place in the race after a thrilling finish on Wednesday.

Amade, 44th in the Melbourne Cup order of entry heading into the race, would need at least a 1kg penalty from Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper David Hegan to even be a chance of gaining a start in the field.

Connections, trainer Phillip Stokes and managing owner Terry Henderson, said Amade was more likely to head to the 2600-metre group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the final day of the Cup carnival, given the class of the race. He jumped as a $31 roughie on Wednesday.

Packed finish: Amade went past the finishing post ahead of a group of runners.

Packed finish: Amade went past the finishing post ahead of a group of runners.Credit: Racing Photos / Getty Images

“I doubt [we’ll go to the Melbourne Cup], but we’ll keep the dream alive, but we’ve got the Queen Elizabeth Stakes earmarked,” Stokes said.

“He’s been building up to this. His run in The Bart Cummings was good and was peaking today.

“It’s funny where you bring him back to a track where he missed the kick here by 12 lengths two years ago and got beaten four [lengths].

“Big thanks to Terry Henderson and the team at OTI, they’ve stuck with us and trusted us with this horse.

“Zac [Spain] gave him a peach of a ride.”

Wet weather plagued Geelong for its feature race day, but did not sour the main event, which provided an epic finish.

Bunched finish: Amade wins the Geelong Cup.

Bunched finish: Amade wins the Geelong Cup.Credit: Racing.com

Hot favourite First Immortal sat in the box seat throughout the race, but a number of challengers swamped him at the 100-metre mark, with Amade bursting through to get his head out at the line.

Runner-up Ashrun, for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, passed the Melbourne Cup ballot for running second and was now all but certain to get a start on the first Tuesday in November after moving to about 25th in the ballot order.

Third-placed Sir Lucan, who made his Australian debut for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott when 14th in last year’s Cup, is not heading to this year’s Melbourne Cup.

Spanish Mission, a placegetter in the 2021 Melbourne Cup, was scratched from the Geelong Cup on Tuesday after suffering an injury to his suspensory. Managing owner Brae Sokolski told this masthead the eight-year-old horse would now be retired, having won six races and nearly $3 million in prizemoney for connections.

Earlier, Danny O’Brien celebrated the win of three-year-old filly Served Cold in the Geelong Classic, who would now press onto the VRC Oaks on the Thursday of Melbourne Cup week.


A full sister to El Patroness, who died two weeks ago after suffering a heart attack walking out of the horse pool at Flemington, O’Brien said Served Cold’s win healed some of the pain.

“We obviously had the tragedy of El Patroness two weeks ago now we had to pick ourselves up, and we were looking forward to getting this filly up to this distance,” O’Brien said.

“El Patroness, she didn’t make it to the Oaks in the spring, she gassed herself by racing too many times. We did our homework on that and have done the opposite with this filly and raced her a little bit less.

“She’s had a couple of starts under [2000 metres] to learn a bit about the racing caper, and she’s found no problems today with the 2200.

“Fitness-wise that will be enough for her to go the Flemington and the Oaks.”

Served Cold is by stallion Shamus Award, who won the Cox Plate a decade ago this Saturday for O’Brien.

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