Tralee Rose cements spot in 2021 Melbourne Cup field

Tralee Rose has cemented her position in the Melbourne Cup with a hard-fought win at Geelong.

The Symon Wilde-trained mare is eligible for a penalty after Wednesday’s win in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) to move up the Order of Entry after being borderline before the race of making the final 24 for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 2.

Sent out the $2.60 favourite, Tralee Rose had to dig deep under Dean Holland to defeat Dr Drill ($21) by a half-length with Hasta La War ($5) a further 2-¾ lengths away third.

Tralee Rose has 51kg in the Melbourne Cup and Racing Victoria handicapper Greg Carpenter will announce any penalty on Thursday.

Wilde was contemplating bypassing Wednesday’s race and count on attrition to make the field but reasoned the race would benefit the five-year-old daughter of Tavistock.

And the Geelong Cup has been a good guide to the Melbourne Cup in recent times.

Geelong Cup winners Media Puzzle (2003), Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) went on to victory at Flemington while recent Melbourne Cup placegetters to score at Geelong include Zazzman (2003), On A Jeune (2005), Bauer (2008) and Prince Of Arran (2019).

Judging by the way Tralee Rose toughed out the 2400m of Wednesday’s race she will relish the 3200m at Flemington in just under two weeks’ time.

“I thought she was there to be beaten and she toughed it out, so from a Melbourne Cup point-of-view it was very pleasing,” Wilde said.

“She did look a touch dour in The Bart Cummings and again today, but I think that it a positive going forward.

“All the work is done.

“We were grappling whether to run or not and I’m glad we did. It will top her off beautifully. It’s not like she’s falling in, she’s getting stronger as the races go on late.

“It is dawning on us now that we’ve got a genuine live hope in the Melbourne Cup.”

Holland has been booked to ride Tralee Rose in the Melbourne Cup.

A Group 1 winner of the 2010 Australasian Oaks, Holland is a two-time winner of the Adelaide Cup (3200m) and is looking forward to the 2021 Melbourne Cup.

“To be honest, I thought I was beat at the 200 (metre mark) but she was tough,” Holland said.

“Dr Drill probably put a head on me and in the end, it was a really good effort and I’m really, really looking forward to riding her in the Cup.”

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