We are off to picturesque Bendigo on Wednesday for Bendigo Cup Day, where we have Lord Fandango contesting the Group 3 Cup. A win in the race could provide a much desired Melbourne Cup start, through a possible weight penalty.
Lord Fandango currently sits 34th in the order of entry for the Melbourne Cup with a weight of 52.5kg. A win in the Bendigo Cup could certainly provide a weight penalty to bring him in the first 24 in the order. Impressive Geelong Cup winner Runaway received a penalty of 1.5kg to bring him into 23rd in the order; nearly guaranteeing the horse a start in the race on the first Tuesday of November. With international horse Duretto a doubtful starter in the race, and the Lexus Stakes (Hotham Handicap) winner next Saturday receiving ballot-exemption, Lord Fandango would require a weight penalty of 1kg to all but guarantee him a start in the Melbourne Cup. A penalty of 0.5kg still gives him a hopeful start, however uncertain.
Firstly, our horse needs to run up to his best potential to win the Bendigo Cup. He has every chance of this with talented jockey Damien Lane on board, jumping from barrier 11 of 15. While Archie wasn’t overly pleased with the barrier draw, he doesn’t believe it’s a worst case scenario. From the draw, Lane can hopefully slot into a midfield position in the run.
On the undercard at Bendigo, we have Fastnet Latina and So Far Sokool for Archie Alexander engaged, who both line up in a 1400m Benchmark 78 Handicap. This is a qualifying race for the Country Series Final, which is held on Oaks Day during the Flemington carnival. Fastnet Latina will jump from barrier 1, with Declan Bates taking the ride. So Far Sokool jumps from barrier 4, with Ben Allen taking the ride. Both horses have been working well in the week leading up to Wednesday.
Best of luck to all connections!