Excluded (left) was narrowly beaten by Norsqui on Melbourne Cup day last year. Picture: Colleen Petch/Herald Sun
Lightly raced stayer Excluded has rocketed into Caulfield Cup contention following three impressive runs this campaign. Following a fast finishing sixth at his reappearance last month, the son of High Chaparral has scored back to back wins at Moonee Valley and Flemington to emerge as a genuine contender in all of the big staying contests to be run during the spring carnival. He has been one of the biggest firmers in early markets after opening at $126 (now $21). The Lloyd Williams owned galloper looked an exciting prospect during last year’s carnival, in which he finished second in both the Terang Cup and the Lavazza Long Black on Melbourne Cup day, but has gone to another level this time in. Although he would likely need a big race win to force his way into the field, Excluded also remains a Melbourne Cup contender.
Triple group one winner Manighar was an unlucky second to Southern Speed in the Makybe Diva Stakes and showed that he will be a big player in whatever he contests, with the Cox Plate ($19 into $13) his likely objective at this stage. He was unlucky in the race and will be confident of reversing the form with Leon McDonald’s mare, who could try and defend her Caulfield Cup crown rather than continue towards the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.
Jimando will head towards the Caulfield Guineas after carrying 58.5kg to victory in a Listed event at Flemington ($61 into $31), while Stralia also firmed for that race ($61 into $31) after running admirably down the straight behind Snitzerland.
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