Premier trainer Peter Moody says Macedonian will be competitive in the Melbourne Cup if he forces his way into the race with a win in the Lexus Stakes at Flemington.
The six-year-old, who finished eighth in the Caulfield Cup, is 37th in order of Melbourne Cup entry, 13 outside the field of limit of 24 but if he can win Saturday’s 2500-metre Group Three event he will be exempt from the ballot.
“I am really pleased with him and I think the bigger track at Flemington is going to suit him super, as well as the 2500 metres,” Moody said.
“He struggled on the turns all the way at Caulfield the other day but his closing sectionals were as good as anything in the race.”
Moody said Macedonian was a better horse than a year ago when he finished fifth in the Geelong Cup before winning the Lavazza Long Black (2800m) on Melbourne Cup Day on his way to Sandown Cup success.
He hasn’t won since but has been sparingly raced with highlights including a third in the Adelaide Cup (3200m) in March and fifth in the Sydney Cup (3200m) in April.
Macedonian has only 50.5kg in the Melbourne Cup.
He’s had five conditioning runs this campaign and finished seventh in Herbert Power Stakes and was beaten only 4-1/2 lengths in the Caulfield Cup after making a run from last.
“He’s definitely more mature now and he’s at the top of his game,” Moody said.
“I am looking forward to Saturday and would dearly love to get him into the Cup field.”
The last two Lexus winners were 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking and Maluckyday, who finished second to Americain last year.
The Lexus has attracted 28 entries and 24 of them are among the 47 horses that were paid up for the Cup as second acceptors on Monday.
Caulfield Cup third placegetter Tullamore (25th in order of Cup entry), The Verminator (26th), Herbert Power Stakes placegetter Moyenne Corniche (27th) and stablemate and Saptapadi (28th) are all entered for the Lexus and are borderline to make the Melbourne Cup field.