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Melbourne Cup contender back on track

Assistant trainer Sam Freedman says the stable has dodged a bullet with Steel Prince who will progress his Melbourne Cup claims at Geelong.

Steel Prince was to have his final lead-up for the $8 million Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5 in the Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield on October 12.

Sfter being loaded into the barriers for the Herbert Power, Steel Prince lashed out putting a hind leg through the back of the stall, resulting in the gelding taking off some skin.

Freedman, the assistant to his father Anthony, said Steel Prince would run in the Geelong Cup (2400m) on Wednesday as his final lead-up for the 2019 Melbourne Cup.

“We dodged a bullet and touch wood he seems really well,” Freedman said.

“It could easily have been disastrous, but at least it happened when it did and not on the first Tuesday in November.

“So it’s plan B that we’re going to now.

“Hiccups happen so you’ve got to handle it as they come and the main thing is, hopefully, he’ll get to the Melbourne Cup in good order, and very fit.”

Freedman said Steel Prince spent the first few days after the incident at the beach.

He did some pacework at Pinecliff, where Freedman trains on the Mornington Peninsula, on Thursday before going to Mornington on Saturday for a gallop on the course proper.

“It was a good piece of work, so all things being well in the next few days the plan is the Geelong Cup and then onwards to the Melbourne Cup,” Freedman said.

“He hasn’t lost too much and he pulled up well from his work so his fitness levels look to be still up to where they need to be.”

Freedman said the Geelong Cup offered Steel Prince extra recovery time ahead of the Melbourne Cup 2019 and fitted in better than the Moonee Valley Cup on October 26.

“And it’s probably a nicer track for him,” Freedman said.

Steel Prince won a ballot exemption into Melbourne Cup courtesy of his narrow win over Surprise Baby in the Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington in May.

The gelding has had two starts this campaign, finishing fourth in the Heatherlie Stakes (1700m) on August 31 before a sixth in the Naturalism Stakes (2000m) on September 21.

Steel Prince is a $26 chance in latest Melbourne Cup odds.

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