Mare to put trainers on The Map

A start in the Melbourne Cup will be on offer for The Map if successful in the Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington.

THE MAP winning the The Macca's Run at FlemingtonĀ in Australia.
THE MAP winning the The Macca's Run at Flemington in Australia. Picture: Steve Hart

The Victoria Racing Club and Flemington racecourse got a taste of what may be coming their way if The Map wins a Golden Ticket into the Melbourne Cup on Saturday. 

Connections of The Map are known for having a good time and the winner's room at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day got a taste that. 

The Map won the other staying race on Melbourne Cup Day, The Macca's Run, and the mare returns to Flemington on Saturday for the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m) which guarantees the winner a ballot exemption into November's Melbourne Cup. 

Trainers Dan Clarken and Oopy Macgillivray say it would be a dream come true for their training operation to have a runner in the Melbourne Cup. 

"We're out the back of Murray Bridge, so to have a runner in the Melbourne Cup, 'My God, how cool would that be'," Clarken said. 

"There are some scallywags in the ownership, and they know how to enjoy a win. 

"We have an owner up in Sydney, Blair Hayden, who has the Lord Nelson Hotel at The Rocks, and he knows how to have good party. 

"We're expecting them all for the Andrew Ramsden. 

"I reckon the VRC learned a bit about them when she won on Melbourne Cup Day last year, but if she won the Andrew Ramsden, this might be bit bigger." 

The Map has been a staying revelation with maturity. 

The rising six-year-old ran second in the Adelaide Cup (3200m) in March and at her only run since, took out the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2500m) at Morphettville on May 4. 

That victory earned The Map a spot in Saturday's race. 

Clarken said trips away and age have helped mould The Map into the stayer she now is. 

"We can see the difference in her now to what she was as a three-year-old," Clarken said. 

"It's staggering. 

"The way she pulls up, the way she deals with stuff and even her work, she's a different animal and I think maturity has been a big factor for her. 

"A staying mare, you have to shape them, they just don't happen." 

Clarken said The Map spent time in a yard following her narrow Adelaide Cup defeat, taking the occasional swim and had two trials in the lead-up to her return run. 

The Andrew Ramsden became the target after the Adelaide Cup and both Clarken and MacGillivray cannot believe how The Map has progressed this time in. 

"She came in and the Andrew Ramsden was the target and then we realised the old Port Adelaide Cup, which in now the Queen Elizabeth II Cup, the race she won last Saturday, was a qualifying race for the Andrew Ramsden," Clarken said. 

"Obviously, the Andrew Ramsden is a qualifying race for the Melbourne Cup, and you would expect a capacity field, so to qualify her was a big plus for us and it also gave her that run as a lead-up. 

"She's had a pretty good week and pulled-up from that race like she didn't go around, so we're quite happy and confident with how she's going. 

"She's ticked every box since Saturday and right at this point, we're coming over for the Andrew Ramsden and we'll see where we end up." 

Unfortunately for those involved with The Map, Jamie Kah, who has two wins and a narrow second on the mare in three rides, is Brisbane bound for that Group 1 meeting at Doomben on Saturday. 

Damian Lane has been booked for the ride. 

"He had a few options to tango with, but he's decided to commit to her, which is great, and that gives us great heart in going over," Clarken said. 

Should The Map land victory on Saturday, Clarken said it would enable the training partnership to concentrate on the program they want to follow rather than being forced to run in qualifying races to gain a Melbourne Cup start. 

"She will have a bit of time off, but whether she gets tipped-out, I don't know," Clarken said. 

"We don't want to let her go to the paddock and get fat and out of shape. 

"We've learned a lot about her in the last 12 months which helps us to train her, but if we can tick off the Andrew Ramsden, it would take a lot of pressure off what you have to run in and what you don't have to. 

"It would be a huge thrill."