The winner of Saturday’s race at Flemington earns a golden ticket into the two-mile showpiece.
Last year Steel Prince secured a start in the Melbourne Cup when he defeated Surprise Baby in the Andrew Ramsden Stakes after a stirring duel.
As Steel Prince is number 38 in this year’s Melbourne Cup order of entry, co-trainer Sam Freedman says he needs to win again to be assured of a spot.
Steel Prince has had two runs this campaign, finishing down the track first up over 1700 metres at Caulfield and a close third behind Orderofthegarter in the Group Three Naturalism Stakes over 2000 metres at the same venue.
Freedman told Melbourne’s RSN radio that Steel Prince was ready to perform in The Bart Cummings (2510m).
“At his last start he blew out late which was his second run in 12 months. He’s taken a lot of benefit from it,” Freedman said.
“You know he loves a scrap. Hopefully he can get another spot in the Melbourne Cup.”
Last year Steel Prince finished ninth in the Melbourne Cup and was only beaten two lengths but Freedman said he could have finished closer as he over-raced.
The stable’s star sprinter Santa Ana Lane, who was announced earlier this week as Coolmore’s Everest slot holder, will have his lead-in run to the $15 million feature in Saturday’s Gilgai Stakes.
Santa Ana Lane will be competing in The Everest for the third successive year.
He finished sixth in the 2018 renewal and second last year and Freedman said they were following the same pattern as 12 months ago.
Santa Ana Lane finished second to Sunlight in last year’s Gilgai Stakes before filling the same position behind Yes Yes Yes in The Everest.
“He’s going well. With his age he’s not getting any faster but he’s come to hand well,” Freedman said.
“He has a nice base fitness going into the race. He’s about 85 to 90 per cent. This will top him off for the Everest.
“He hasn’t won first-up for years but he is weighted very well. He’ll sit out the back and run on strongly.”
The stable also has Warning in the Turnbull Stakes and Freedman says they will be looking for him to run on well.
The 2019 Victoria Derby winner, Warning is also being aimed at the Melbourne Cup.