White Marlin set for Andrew Rasmsden Stakes

Melbourne Cup favourite White Marlin looms large in this Saturday’s Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington, but that will not stop Ciaron Maher and David Eustace tackling the race with up to three runners.

Alakahan and Herman Hesse are definite starters for the co-trainers of last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip with Cadre Du Noir also a chance to contest the 2800-metre event.

White Marlin will most likely start a short-priced favourite despite suffering the first defeat of his career in the 2000m William Newton VC Handicap last time out, but Eustace is happy to take him on.

“He got rolled the other day (when) he had every chance, there didn’t appear to be any excuses, so I don’t see why not,” Eustace said when asked if any of his trio were capable of upsetting the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained import.

Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare, last-start Mornington Cup runner-up Hezashocka and last year’s ATC Oaks winner El Patroness are among others headed to the Ramsden Stakes, which carries not only $500,000 in prizemoney but also a Melbourne Cup exemption.

Herman Hesse finished immediately behind Hezashocka in the Mornington Cup at his most recent appearance and has been sharpened up over jumps since.

“He had a jumps trial, which is great because he goes a bit hard in his trackwork and it did him the world of good to do that,” Eustace said.

“He ran well in the Mornington Cup and will relish the step up in trip, I think.”

A decision will be made during the week whether Cadre Du Noir attempts to turn his form around in the Ramsden Stakes, but Alakahan will be given his shot after hitting the line stoutly to beaten less than four lengths when seventh in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m).

“He was bought to go jumping, but he’s just running well on the flat,” Eustace said.

“Ciaron was actually quite bullish about him (before the Sydney Cup), he’s quite a good horse but his form’s been mixed.”

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