Lunar Flare chasing Melbourne Cup ticket in Andrew Ramsden Stakes

Grahame Begg is confident he has made the right decision in giving Lunar Flare some extra time ahead of the Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington.

It will be five weeks since Lunar Flare last raced when she lines up in the Listed 2800m race on Saturday which provides the winner a ballot exemption into the Melbourne Cup (3200m) in November.

Lunar Flare won The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington last October which afforded her a ballot exemption into last year’s Melbourne Cup, however the mare was ruled out when judged to be lame by Racing Victoria vets following a pre-race inspection.

The mare has performed well in three starts this campaign and importantly has drawn barrier two in Saturday’s race which should enable Lunar Flare a cosy run.

Lunar Flare jumped from barrier one when successful in The Bart Cummings.

“It’s the first time she has drawn inside since The Bart Cummings,” Begg said.

“From there we’ll be able to put her to sleep and she needs to be as it will be five weeks between runs, even though she had a jump-out, she can get a little bit aggressive in the run.

“But once she finds a backside she generally tends to switch off and it means you’re not going back at the start of the race to try and get cover.

“Instead of having most of the field in front of you from a wide draw, you end up with half behind you from the better draw.

“And I think it will be a solidly run race.”

Begg had toyed with the idea of giving Lunar Flare another run after her third-place finish behind Andrew Ramsden rival White Marlin in the Group 3 Easter Cup (2100m) at Sandown on April 8.

But Begg was mindful of just how much that race may have taken out of Lunar Flare on the significantly wet ground.

“We haven’t run her from the Easter Cup because of the hangover fear from running on that very heavy track,” Begg said.

“Not that she showed me she had a hard run in the Easter Cup, but it was trying conditions on the day.

“We would have had to back up into the Mornington Cup (2400m) two weeks after and then back-up again into this race, so we opted not to go that way.

“She has been showing all the right signs and hopefully she’s got the fresh legs on the scene.”

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