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New Melbourne Cup path for VRC St Leger? - Melbourne Cup - Racehorse TALK

Author Topic: New Melbourne Cup path for VRC St Leger?  (Read 274 times)

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O.P. « 2017-Apr-24, 04:34 PM »

Despite what appears to be a gradual demise for what was once a great staying test, the VRC St Leger will be rejuvenated in the future to the extent its winner could earn a ticket into that year's Melbourne Cup.

"It's a very, very important race for those people who aspire to breed stayers and for those people to aspire to have a Melbourne Cup runner," Racing Victoria's executive general manager of racing Greg Carpenter said on St Leger eve on Monday.

"There has actually been some conversation around whether or not the St Leger winner, whether it can be built into a slightly stronger race than it is, whether the winner should get into the Melbourne Cup.

"That tells the story about how much the Melbourne Cup has grown and developed. Just 30 or 40 years ago the St Leger winner would have got into the Melbourne Cup because the bar was much lower as far as getting into our great race."

The VRC St Leger's most recent tangible link to the Melbourne Cup is now 35 years ago when Gurner's Lane won the St Leger and six months later returned to Flemington to run down Kingston Town in the big one.

But before then, it was a giant of a staying race boasting winners of the calibre of Phar Lap, Tulloch, Poseidon and back to 1881 with the unbeaten Grand Flaneur.

Carpenter said that while no decision had been made on how best to rejuvenate the St Leger, RV's aim was to ensure the race did not fall away further.

"Absolutely we are committed to the continuation of the VRC St Leger and we will continue to work with the VRC anyway we can to strengthen and retain its place on the calendar," he said.

"One of the things that I am determined to do is to remove the set-weights-and-penalty clauses in the race.

"It is a semi-classic. It should be a set-weight race rather than a penalty race so we'll review that and we'll keep looking at the prizemoney level to ensure that the oldest classic on the calendar - I am pretty sure that it pre-dates the Victoria Derby and certainly pre-dates the Victoria Oaks - continues to be a race for people to aspire to win with staying horses that they've bred."

While the 160-year history of the St Leger has kept it safe, the three-year-old Marathon Stayers Series is certain to suffer a demotion off the VOBIS Gold Saturday program next season.

Carpenter said RV had been disappointed in the small field of just six for the 4000-metre final and was far from certain that the six that did race were up to Saturday standard.



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