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Constantinople will bid to set up his spring campaign when he steps out at Flemington

Constantinople will bid to set up his spring campaign when he steps out in the William Newton VC Handicap at Flemington.

Lindsay Park held high hopes for Constantinople when he arrived from Ireland for the 2019 Melbourne Spring Carnival.

An unlucky first-up fourth in the Caulfield Cup saw Constantinople one of the favoured runners in that year’s Melbourne Cup, only to finish 13th behind Vow And Declare.

Not all has gone well for Constantinople since.

He has been gelded after a moderate autumn campaign in 2020 then after one run last spring was sent for another break after an operation for a breathing problem.

Constantinople has had one run this year, finishing tenth in the Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on April 3 and will have his next start in the William Newton VC Handicap (2600m) at Flemington on Sunday.

This autumn program is all about setting Constantinople up for the spring, in particular this year’s Melbourne Cup.

Being a five-year-old Constantinople may be given his shot at securing a Melbourne Cup berth by running in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) at Flemington on May 15.

Victory in that race provides the winner a ballot exemption into November’s Cup.

Ben Hayes, who trains Constantinople in partnership with Tom Dabernig, said the gelding had really improved out of his Easter Cup run.

“First-up at the 2000 metres, he just needed it and I was quite happy with the way he finished it off,” Hayes said.

“He’s eating up and really coping with the work load, but it is a big ask again, jumping straight to the 2600 metres, but I think that will be a good blow out.

“The Andrew Ramsden could be an option if he runs a really nice race, he could definitely head that way.

“It’s surprising that he’s still eligible for it, he seems older than he is.”

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