Naas test for Melbourne Cup 2023 favourite Vauban

Vauban’s Melbourne Cup credentials will be put to the test when he contests the Group 3 Ballyroan Stakes at Naas in Ireland in the early hours of Tuesday morning, Australian time.

The William Haggas-trained gelding is an odds-on favourite for the 2398-metre Group 3 event, which is a crucial stepping stone in his Melbourne Cup quest.

The five-year-old rocketed to Melbourne Cup favouritism with a 7-1/2-length win in the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot, but has not yet passed the first Melbourne Cup ballot clause and needs a top-three finish to be qualified for the race.

Racing And Sports head of handicapping Adam Blencowe said talented three-year-olds Peking Opera and Valiant King could offer some resistance to Vauban, but a repeat of his Royal Ascot performance would see him safely pass the Melbourne Cup ballot.

“Vauban became the shortest-priced handicap winner at Royal Ascot this century and only missed winning by the widest margin in that time with a performance that clearly established him as a strong Melbourne Cup chance,” Blencowe said.

“Unlike so many long-range Melbourne Cup favourites, who are clearly there marking time until the real chances emerge, Vauban will be towards the head of betting if he pitches up at Flemington – provided he doesn’t slip up between now and then.

“Naas gives him a chance to slip, a couple of quickly improving three-year-olds with big profiles oppose, but they would be unlikely to match Vauban at or near his Ascot form and he should take care of matters without too much fuss.”

The Royal Ascot win was the sixth of a 13-start career for Vauban, a son of Galiway, who has also registered four placings.

The four placings have all come in hurdle events along with three of the wins – all of them at Grade 1 level.

Just hours after the Ballyroan Stakes is run, at 1.35am AEST, entries close for two of the Spring Carnival’s majors – the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate – with Melbourne Cup first acceptances to be taken four weeks later on September 5.

About RS NewsWire

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