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Image: Bruno Cannatelli
A third start in the Melbourne Cup will be on offer for Daqiansweet Junior if successful in The Roy Higgins at Flemington.

Daqiansweet Junior has contested the past two Melbourne Cups and will chase another start in the race at Flemington on Saturday.

The Roy Higgins (2600m) offers the winner a ballot exemption into the Melbourne Cup 2024, one of four staying races run at Flemington that has ‘win and you’re in’ status.

Trainer Phillip Stokes expects Daqiansweet Junior to again make this year’s Cup field but wants to take any uncertainty away by scoring on Saturday.

“He got into the Cup pretty comfortably last year,” Stokes said.

“He should be OK again, but if you don’t have to take the chance it makes the programming easier if we’re going that way.”

Daqiansweet Junior ran sixth to Gold Trip in the 2022 Melbourne Cup before improving one position behind Without A Fight last year.

Stokes has Daqiansweet Junior on a limited autumn campaign with only one more run after Saturday planned before concentrating on the Cup in November.

Daqiansweet Junior has had one run since last year’s Cup, finishing fifth in the Australian Cup Prelude (1800m) at Flemington on March 9.

“I thought his first-up run was the best he has put in for a long time,” Stokes said.

“He bounced, put himself there, and only got beaten a bit under four lengths which is probably a ‘PB’ for him.

“He goes to the Roy Higgins second-up in good order, and then hopefully peaking third-up in the Sydney Cup.”

Stokes said Daqiansweet Junior had a four or five-week spell but was doing some light exercise at the trainer’s farm during his break.

The gelding kept an amount of residual fitness which Stokes said was the reason he was able to send Daqiansweet Junior to The Roy Higgins second-up and then onto the Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on April 13.

“He had a good break,” Stokes said.

“He was up at the farm, and we kept him ticking over, doing a bit of swimming and stuff like that.

“He kept a lot of that residual fitness, so that is why he is second-up at that trip.”

 
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