Spirit Of St Louis out of Victoria Cup
By Adam Hamilton
Top former Kiwi pacer Spirit Of St Louis will be a shock absentee from Saturday week’s Group 1 Victoria Cup.
A minor but untimely setback means Team McCarthy has run out of time to prime the long-time Cup favourite for the 2240m feature at Melton.
“He’s just been a touch ‘off’ and missed a week’s work, so he won’t be ready,” Luke McCarthy said.
“He’ll stay here and go to the Len Smith (Mile) instead.”
And then Spirit Of St Louis will be set for the Inter Dominion.
Spirit Of St Louis’ omission from the Cup leaves his stablemate, Expensive Ego, a slight $4.50 favourite over star Kiwi raider Copy That ($5).
Expensive Ego will go into the race having just raced once for a Menangle win since finishing out of a place in the Miracle Mile on March 12.
Copy That, Bondi Lockdown and some other key Cup contenders will lock horns in Saturday night’s Smoken Sprint at Melton.
In other big race news, leading Victoria Derby contender Leap To Fame is no certainty to tackle the heats on Saturday night.
Owner Kevin Seymour revealed he and trainer-driver Grant Dixon were sweating on a flight from Brisbane to Melbourne.
“He should be there already, but he’s no,” Seymour said. “The plan was to get down a week or so before the race, but there hasn’t been a flight.
“The last chance is Wednesday night. We’re told there is a crate coming up that he can get on and, at this stage, it’s scheduled to go back Wednesday night.
“Obviously we hope that’s the case, but even that isn’t ideal.
“He’s a stallion and they can take a bit longer to settle in. It’ll be cutting it very fine.
“Even if he gets there, it won’t have been an ideal start to his (Derby) preparation.”
Leap To Fame has lost prepost Derby favouritism to Captain Ravishing, who has looked awesome winning his only two starts for new trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin.
The other big gun in the series is Andy and Kate Gath’s Catch A Wave.