Bart Cummings’ push for a 13th Melbourne Cup has got a tad stronger with the impressive win of Cosmonaut at Caulfield.
Cummings said the Starcraft four-year-old would try to qualify for the Cup through the Bendigo Cup (2400m) after dominating Wednesday’s Betfair Handicap (2000m).
The victory was only the gelding’s second win in 10 starts but like a good Cummings horse he has found form in the spring.
Ridden by Luke Nolen, he had the 0-82 class event won at the top the straight when he dashed to the front and was strong on the line, scoring by 1-1/2 lengths from Keep Cool with Langridge Street three-quarters of a length away third.
Cosmonaut appreciated the drop in class after finishing last in the Group Three JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley on September 30.
Cummings has always had a good opinion of Cosmonaut who was still a maiden when he finished eighth to Lion Tamer in last year’s Victoria Derby.
He won his maiden by five lengths over 1500 metres at Ballarat on September 18.
“He is bred nicely, got a good constitution, and he’s got a nice action,” Cummings said.
“Now he is relaxed and not trying to lead it gives him a finishing burst.”
Cummings already has Precedence (16th in order of entry) and imported stayer Illo (27th) qualified for the Melbourne Cup.
Precedence runs in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup and Illo will contest next Wednesday’s Geelong Cup.
Pegembak is his other Melbourne Cup hope but he is ranked 78th and is at the bottom of the order of entry, just below Cosmonaut (75th).
“He (Cosmonaut) settled nicely just behind the pace and had that nice sprint at the finish,” Cummings said.
“I told him (Nolen) to box seat if he could and it worked out quite nice.
“I have got my fingers crossed and am hoping for the best.”
Nolen said Cosmonaut had a lot of potential.
“We found a nice trailing position in the race quite early … and he had the race by the scruff of the neck a fair way from home,” he said.
“There’s a lot of good money (races) on this time of the year so Bart was down there discussing whether or not the Bendigo Cup might be a nice progressive option for his next tilt.
“I don’t think that would be beyond the range of possibility especially with Bart’s polish on him.
“I’m sure he’ll improve off the back of this run today.”