Cleveland boosts his Melbourne Cup credentials in Moonee Valley Cup

Cleveland has won his first race in Australia from seven attempts, taking out the Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) on Friday night. A former Sydney Cup favourite and now with Kris Lees, the former Joseph O’Brien trained stayer is already assured of a Melbourne Cup start.

Under a typically composed James McDonald ride, Cleveland ($6.50) ran on well to beat assured Cup hopes Vow And Declare ($6.50) by 3/4 lengths, with a nose back to Future History ($7.50) in third and Lunar Flare ($3.90 fav) in fourth.

Kris Lees, who has only had the son of five-year-old entire by Camelot since August, was thrilled to train a winner for the Williams family and suggested that the horse could take his place in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).

“We hope (he’ll run). He’ll come on again, I think he’s found a bit of form and I think he’ll hold it now,” Lees said.

“I’ve been mates with Nick (Williams) for a very long time, I’m very fortunate he’s given us an opportunity to take some nice horses and I repaid him with one today.”

Williams, who was on track at Moonee Valley, echoed the thoughts, jokingly suggesting the 3/4 length win wasn’t good enough to attract a penalty for the Melbourne Cup 2023.

“I’m sure David Hegan (Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper) is probably watching tonight… probably not a very good race this, I’m sure the 51 and a half he’s got there is enough, not any more,” Williams joked.

“We’ll see how he pulls up and make a decision on Saturday or Sunday but obviously you’d think we would head in that direction but we’ll see.”

James Mcdonald, who only had one ride on the card for one win, won’t be able to ride Cleveland in the Melbourne Cup due to his current allotted weight of 51.5kg but suggested the race will be wide open.

“It’s very competitive, take the top three out, they look the class acts but you never know, it’s two miles, down in the weights, you’re a chance,” McDonald said.

A winner over 3749m at Chester in the UK, Cleveland firmed in to $14 in Melbourne Cup markets after the win with Aussie betting sites.

About RS NewsWire

Racing and Sports is a global publisher of online horse racing form and information, and a leader in interactive racing technology. Racing and Sports is at the cutting-edge of information technology, allowing businesses and website users first access to emerging technologies.

Bookmaker Why Bet Sign Up Full Review
Bet Now at ladbrokes Back Yourself with Ladbrokes! Join Review
Bet Now at neds Back a Winner with Neds! Join Review
Bet Now at palmerbet Sign up to Unibet and start betting in minutes! Join Review
Bet Now at tab Sign up to TAB and start betting in minutes! Join Review
Bet Now at playup Sign up to PlayUp and start betting in minutes! Join Review