Trainer John Sargent’s gut feeling is Gust Of Wind is fit enough to go to the Melbourne Cup without another start but he will give the mare an important gallop before a final decision.
Stablemate Thunder Lady is nominated for the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and Lexus Stakes (2500m) on Saturday at Flemington and Sargent said the latter was the preference with the winner gaining a start in the Melbourne Cup.
Thunder Lady is 30th in the order of entry for the Cup which has a limit of 24 while Gust Of Wind is safely in the field.
This year’s ATC Australian Oaks winner Gust Of Wind finished fourth in the Caulfield Cup last start, signalling she was on target for the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday week.
She is nominated for Saturday’s Mackinnon Stakes.
“Gust of Wind is galloping tomorrow on the course proper with Thunder Lady. If she pulls up in need of a bit more she’ll run in the Mackinnon otherwise she’ll go straight into the Cup,” Sargent said.
“And she’s pretty fit by the look of her.
“The way she strode out on Saturday and pulled up, my gut feeling would be the Cup.”
Sargent has won the past two Wakeful Stakes at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day but won’t have a runner on Saturday.
Thunder Lady won the Wakeful 12 months ago and was second in the VRC Oaks, while Kirramosa claimed the Wakeful-VRC Oaks double in 2013.
Kirramosa is nominated for the Mackinnon and Lexus but Sargent is planning to start her in Wednesday’s Bendigo Cup (2400m), saying the mare had done well since arriving in Melbourne on Sunday.
Kirramosa finished 10th in the Epsom Handicap last start.
“She got knocked around on the turn with Winx, she was a bit sore behind for a few days but she’s back on track now,” Sargent said.
“That knocked her back for the Cup so she’ll go to the Bendigo Cup and then likely the Matriarch Stakes or the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the final day (of the Melbourne Cup carnival).”
Chris Parnham is booked to ride Thunder Lady in the Lexus.