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If Lord Van Percy can win the Lexus Stakes and force his way into the Melbourne Cup field, internationally-trained horses will account for half the runners in Australia’s most famous race.

Of the 12 overseas horses among the latest declarations taken on Monday, the Andrew Balding-trained Lord Van Percy is the only one not assured of a start.

Lord Van Percy

Lord Van Percy

The winner of Saturday’s Lexus Stakes (2500m) gains automatic entry to the Cup and cannot be rehandicapped.

The last horse to pull off the double was Shocking in 2009, nine years after Brew achieved the feat to propel his jockey Kerrin McEvoy to an international career.

After several years riding for Godolphin in Europe, McEvoy returned home to continue his association with Sheikh Mohammed’s Australian operation.

The jockey is now in high demand as a freelance rider and rides the Derby favourite Hampton Court on Saturday and partners the well-fancied Lucia Valentina in this year’s Cup on Tuesday.

On Monday he was reunited with Brew at the Cup launch, saying it brought back fond memories.

“I owe a lot to Brew for giving me a great start,” McEvoy said. “It was great to catch up with him again today.”

Prince Of Penzance, winner of Saturday’s Moonee Valley Cup, received a two kilogram penalty for that win but is stranded at No.30 in the Melbourne Cup ballot order.

His likely target is the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday week. If a horse paid up for the Melbourne Cup misses a start but wins the Queen Elizabeth, it earns a $100,000 bonus.

Among the horses trying to earn a Cup start via the Lexus is La Amistad, a three-quarter sister to Makybe Diva, the winner of an unrivalled three Melbourne Cups.

After a disappointing three unplaced runs in Sydney, La Amistad earned her chance in the Lexus with her second in the City Tattersalls Cup.

She is trained by the Hawkes family partnership which almost pulled off the Lexus-Cup double four years ago when Maluckyday ran second in the big one to French horse Americain.

The Japanese Caulfield Cup winner, Admire Rakti, remains the $4 favourite for the Melbourne Cup ahead of German horse Protectionist at $6.50 and Lucia Valentina at $6.50.

 
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