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Queen’s Cup winner Moudre will kick off his Melbourne Cup campaign in Saturday’s P B Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield.

Trainer Ciaron Maher said the gelding was ready to resume having had two jump outs, one at home at Warrnambool followed by another on the Geelong Synthetic track last Wednesday with race jockey Craig Williams in the saddle.

“He went well, Craig rode him but he didn’t have the blinkers on and I didn’t want him to have a hard trial,” Maher said.

Williams has ridden Moudre at his past 10 starts for three wins including the Group Three Queen’s Cup at Flemington last spring.

This time last year Williams was aboard Moudre when he won a 1410m open handicap at Flemington on Aurie’s Star day before winning the Listed Heatherlie Handicap at Caulfield.

He then ran third to Rainbow Styling in the Naturalism Stakes and fourth to Linton in the Herbert Power Stakes, both at Caulfield.

Maher said the six-year-old had thrived during his break and had developed into a more mature horse.

“He’s had a good spell and is looking really good,” he said.

Moudre failed to come up in the autumn and was spelled after three unplaced runs, the latest when ninth to Shocking in the Australian Cup at Flemington.

Maher is confident the best of Moudre, already the winner of seven races from 20 starts and more than $500,000 prize money, will be seen this spring.

He failed in his last ditch attempt to qualify for a start in the 2010 Melbourne Cup when fourth to Maluckyday in the Lexus Stakes.

Maher said it would be great to get him to the Melbourne Cup this year.

“He’s a good horse and he has form around Americain,” he said.

Moudre was beaten a long-head when runner-up to subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Americain in the Geelong Cup.

Saturday’s $200,000 Group Two weight-for-age 1400m feature, formerly the J J Liston Stakes, will also be the starting point for Caulfield and Melbourne Cups equal favourite Lights Of Heaven.

The four-year-old Zabeel mare is unbeaten in four starts including the Group One Australasian Oaks at Morphettville at her latest appearance in March when she defeated subsequent Group One AJC Oaks winner Absolutely.

Leading trainer Peter Moody is forced to find a new rider for Lights Of Heaven due to Luke Nolen being suspended for nine meetings on a careless riding charge at Flemington on Saturday.


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