Jockey Declan Bates rides Too Close the Sun to victory in race 8, the Sungold Milk Warrnambool Cup, during the TAB Warrnambool May Racing Carnival in Warrnambool, Victoria, Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (AAP Image/Supplied by Pat Scala, Racing Photos) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Jockey Declan Bates rides Too Close the Sun to victory in race 8, the Sungold Milk Warrnambool Cup, during the TAB Warrnambool May Racing Carnival in Warrnambool, Victoria, Wednesday, May 6, 2020. (AAP Image/Supplied by Pat Scala, Racing Photos) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

Melbourne Cup spot up for grabs

From the Terang Cup to the Melbourne Cup would be some leap for trainer Lindsay Smith and a shot at the first Tuesday in November is on offer for his runner Too Close the Sun in Saturday's Andrew Ramsden (2800m) at Flemington.

After winning last week's Warrnambool Cup with a dominant display as favourite over 2350m, Smith said the four-year-old gelding had come through well and demanded a spot in Saturday's race which guarantees the winner a Melbourne Cup start.

Surprise Baby, which ran second in last year's Andrew Ramsden, went on to finish fifth in the Melbourne Cup for Horsham trainer Paul Preusker, as a formline for Smith to follow.

Too Close the Sun has won three on the trot, including the Terang Cup last month and Smith said he would go to Flemington at the top of his game, but his performance would dictate where he sits in the broader pecking order.

"This sort of race puts you where you are. We'll see if he can run the 2800m and how close he can get to the good horses," Smith said on Sunday.

"It answers a lot of questions. If you are not up to them you go ducking and diving down a different road.

"I don't know whether he's good enough for the Melbourne Cup but he'll run 2800m.

Can Too Close the Sun. AAP Image/Supplied by Alice Laidlaw/Racing Photos.
Can Too Close the Sun. AAP Image/Supplied by Alice Laidlaw/Racing Photos.

"He's on the high, near his best, and he's going to meet a few of those who may not be. So if he can't beat them now, it's no good worrying about the first Tuesday."

The potential lack of international runners in this year's spring carnival could make the Melbourne Cup more winnable, although the performance of SA Derby winner Russian Camelot on Saturday was evidence of how strong the local contingent could be.

"It changes the landscape for us, and if he can fluke winning this then you don't have to worry about getting a run. But that's a fair way down the road," Smith said.

"We'll just worry about Saturday and as I said, if he can't beat them, in good form, it would be pointless trying to beat them a few months down the track."

Originally published as Melbourne Cup spot up for grabs