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Stokes eyes Cup with Amade

Phillip Stokes’ talented import Amade will start his assault on the Melbourne Cup when he heads to Caulfield on Saturday for the Group 3 MRC Foundation Cup.

The former French galloper was an authoritative winner at Flemington on Anzac Day this year but hasn’t been to the races since then.

“He never really went out of work, we just kept him ticking over and just kept him on our uphill training track and just kept a bit of residual fitness there,” Stokes said.

“You don’t really get a great guide on his trackwork, he’s a real race-day horse, but I feel he’ll run well.

“Obviously, we haven’t got him peaking or wound up for Saturday, he’ll keep improving through the prep.

“We’ll probably go from this to The Bart Cummings and maybe a Geelong Cup and try and get him into a Melbourne Cup.”

Amade (IRE) ridden by Ben Allen wins the William Newton VC Handicap at Flemington Racecourse on April 25, 2021 in Flemington, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos).

Amade is raced by OTI Racing and had solid international form prior to coming to Australia, including a win in the G2 Belmont Gold Cup over 3200m in New York in 2019.

“I’m very appreciative of OTI giving me the chance to train a horse like this, because he’d been off the scene for two years, so for him to win second-up on Anzac Day over 2800m, I thought that was a pretty good effort,” Stokes said.

“He’s got a big set of lungs (and) like I said, he only does what he has to at trackwork.

“I feel, he’d have to be going better this time around to be even contemplating going to the Melbourne Cup, but I’m sure he’s going better, we’ve been happy with what we’ve seen.

“Benny Allen’s got a better understanding of the horse now, I’m keen to have him on, if he’s running top four like he did first-up last prep and he’ll build on that going into The Bart Cummings hopefully.”

Amade has been assigned 52.5kg for both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups and is at $26 with Sportsbet for ‘the race that stops a nation’.

Stokes has another intriguing runner at Caulfield on Saturday in bargain buy Island Edition, who showed a good turn of foot to win by almost five lengths on debut at Ballarat last month.

“I like the horse, I think he’s got upside, he’ll run well, each-way chance,” Stokes said.

Island Edition may not have been perfect in his first trip to the races, but he has exhibited his potential to his connections.

“His trackwork says he has, he’s still got to get it together on race day,” Stokes said.

“He’s an unorthodox-sort-of-looking horse that cost $8000 online, but anyway, he’s going alright!”

This article was written by Edward Sadler for racing.com and can be viewed in full here