Punt Racing

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Alexander mare joins queue for Cup entry

Craig Brennan


Wheal Leisure will make a bid for a Melbourne Cup start when she contests the Bart Cummings at Flemington.

Archie Alexander has rolled the dice in his bid to secure a Melbourne Cup start for Wheal Leisure.

The Ballarat-trained mare is racing for a ballot exemption into November's $7 million race in the Bart Cummings at Flemington on Saturday.

"It's going to be very hard and it's the only way in," Alexander said.

"The nice thing is if she doesn't run as well as we think we can always come back to the Bendigo Cup, the Geelong Cup or the Queen Elizabeth."

Alexander set his sights on a Caulfield and Melbourne Cups campaign after Wheal Leisure finished third, behind Vengeur Masque, an opponent on Saturday, in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington last November.

He'd mapped out a program, but those plans were in disarray when an outbreak of strangles quarantined his stables.

It threw the stable routine out of order and forced him to work his horses on a treadmill within his stable confines and travel to nearby Burrumbeet for gallops.

"Every trainer likes a routine to know what they are doing and we were off our routine," Alexander said.

"We have about 40 minutes on their back and our horses walk before and they walk after their work and they also swim.

"All up you'd be looking at an hour and a quarter out of their box every morning before a hand walk in the afternoon.

"They get plenty of work but we were cutting that down having to use Burrumbeet."

Alexander gave Wheal Leisure a pass mark when 10th at Caulfield on September 22 and said she's done well since getting back to her normal routine.

"She'll stay the trip, she's in good form at home and she doesn't know what price she is," Alexander said.