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The ballot exemption on offer into a spring Classic is part of the attraction for trainer Tony McEvoy to send Marndarra from South Australia to Melbourne to run in the Byerley Handicap at Flemington.

Saturday’s Byerley over 1800m for two-year-olds carries a ballot exemption for the winner into the G1 Victoria Derby and/or G1 VRC Oaks this spring and the race has 14 initial nominations with entries extended until Tuesday morning.

Marndarra has raced twice in South Australia, finishing second in a 1300m-maiden at Balaklava on debut before winning a 1550m-maiden on the Morphettville Parks track in Adelaide last Wednesday.

“She is a filly I have really liked all along and it has just taken me a while to get her going,” McEvoy said.

“She’s an Oaks style of filly, I believe.

“It was a very good run at Balaklava. She just got to the front and got a bit lost.

“She picked up a lot the other day over 1550 metres on the Morphettville Parks track and it was a really strong win.

“I think she will love the 1800 metres.

“It is getting her out to that distance quite early at her third career start but I think she’s very fit and seasoned and I think she’ll love the distance.”

McEvoy said Marndarra, who was due to arrive at his Flemington stables on Monday afternoon, had come through her win in good order.

“I had a look at her yesterday and this morning she is bright and lovely and sound,” the trainer, who has bases in South Australia and Victoria, said.

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have nominated Echo Lad for the Byerley after his win in a 1600m-maiden at Warwick Farm last Wednesday while Godolphin trainer James Cummings has three juveniles among the nominations – Farlingaye, Prophecies and Vallauris.

The Lindsay Park stable has Huntly Castle entered after he broke his maiden over 1600m at Bendigo on July 5.

 
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