Ventura Storm (right) is closer to a Melbourne Cup start after winning the Moonee Valley Gold Cup.
Imported Lindsay Park-trained galloper Ventura Storm has finally broken through for his maiden Australian win in taking out the Moonee Valley Gold Cup.
Now a Melbourne Cup start awaits with Ventura Storm eligible for a penalty following his win in Saturday’s Group Two staying test.
“A half-kilo would be nice,” senior Lindsay Park trainer David Hayes said.
Ridden by Mark Zahra, Ventura Storm was backed from $7.50 into $5.50 in scoring a long neck win from Trap For Fools ($10) with Libran ($13) three-quarters-of-a-length away third.
Before Saturday’s success, Ventura Storm sat 27th in the order of entry into the Melbourne Cup.
Racing Victoria handicapper Greg Carpenter will announce a penalty, if any, on Monday.
The 2016 Moonee Valley Cup winner Grand Marshal was not penalised after his win for the Melbourne Cup.
“Finally he’s won but he has run three very good races along the way, two at Group One level and beaten in a $500,000 race an inch,” Hayes said.
“He’s a gelding now, he’s had a wind operation and we’ve worked him out now.
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“I’m sure there’s plenty of good staying races in him and of course we’ll go to the Melbourne Cup.”
Hayes has called for the Geelong Cup, won by Runaway on Wednesday, and the Moonee Valley to be ballot exempt races into the Melbourne Cup.
“It’s an idea to help the local horses,” Hayes said.
“He’s beaten the imports today and Gai beat them on Wednesday.
“If you’ve got in-form horses in the Cup, I think it would be better for betting and better for the race.”
With Ventura Storm almost assured of gaining a Cup start, Hayes and the Lindsay Park team are pinning their hopes on Jaameh winning next week’s Hotham Handicap to also force his way into the race.
“I would almost rate him our best chance if he can get in,” Hayes said.
“Ventura Storm is a very good chance also as he’ll give himself the run of the race.
“I wish he had that run in the Caulfield Cup last week.”