Charlie Appleby was all smiles again at Flemington
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Mark Scully in Melbourne 4:40AM 29 OCT 2016
Report: Australia, Saturday
Flemington: Lexus Stakes (Group 3) 1m4½f, turf, 3yo+
OCEANOGRAPHER (Charlie Appleby/Kerrin McEvoy) produced the most dramatic of late surges to snatch the Lexus Stakes and stamp his ticket into Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.
Such has been the dominance of the Charlie Appleby string so far during this carnival, Flemington’s punters sent Oceanographer off the $ 2.60 favourite but their hearts were in their mouths as Tom Melbourne looked to have landed the spoils with the perfect front-running display.
Oceanographer had been unable to reel in his stablemate Qewy from the front when third behind him in the Geelong Cup a week and a half ago but it was a different story this time as the red-hot Kerrin McEvoy got him up in the shadow of the post to score.
The race carries automatic entry into the Melbourne Cup for any winner still engaged in the big race and the win was a much needed one, with Oceanographer having needed five runners to come out at the final declaration stage to get a run otherwise.
Appleby, who is back in Melbourne having returned to Britain after the Caulfield Cup a fortnight ago, said: “We’re having a fantastic run and I just have to congratulate the team who freshened him up down here since his last run. Kerrin has given him a fantastic ride and I’m delighted for everyone.”
The trainer admits Oceanographer will be heading into unusual territory for a European stayer in coming back out to race so soon after Saturday’s success but believes the four-year-old is the type who can handle it.
“Whether he can win the Cup or not I don’t know but he can back-up for sure,” said Appleby. “He came out of the last race so well and he was bucking and kicking when I saw him this morning. He is thriving with the sun on his back.
“Whatever all the horses do now, they’ve done us proud and we will enjoy Tuesday. Winning the Melbourne Cup is something I hadn’t thought about much beforehand but now it’s starting to become a bit more of a reality.”