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OTI Racing’s Irish-bred stayer Tom Melbourne has taken his first step towards the Caulfield Cup after winning the Albury Gold Cup.

The Lee and Anthony Freedman-trained import won the $170,000 race despite laying in badly in the straight, coming from the widest part of the track and bumping the inside rail.

Lee Freedman said the horse would now tackle the Mornington Cup, a race where the winner secures automatic entry to the Caulfield Cup.

“It’s a silly thing, it probably shouldn’t be there, but I’m going to try and exploit it this year if I can,” Freedman said.

The lightly raced five-year-old made it five wins from seven starts, outclassing his rivals over 2000m on a heavy track.

“He didn’t handle it at all. You didn’t see the real horse today,” Freedman said.

“From what I’ve seen of him on dry ground he’s a much better horse than that, still we got the job done.

Tom Melbourne, the $2.50 favourite, took over the lead at the top of the straight and held on to win from High Opinion ($26) and Hippopus ($3.80).

Jockey Glen Boss claimed the gelding didn’t handle the conditions, but was simply too strong.

He said Tom Melbourne had enough talent to have run well in last week’s Australian Cup while the five-year-old wouldn’t be out of his depth in next week’s $1.5 million BMW at Rosehill.

 
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