Late entry adds spice to race

A Melbourne Cup entrant outside the top 24 spots in the order of entry have joined the mix to claim the last place in the field in today’s $300,000 Group III Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington.

The Lexus Stakes carries ballot exemption for the winner and when nominations for the race closed on Monday, five Melbourne Cup second acceptances, all outside the top 24 in the order of entry, were among the declarations.

Pentathlon (26th), Rose Of Virginia (27th), De Little Engine (equal 30th), The Bandit (equal 30th) and Tom Melbourne (equal 30th) are entered for their last throw at the stumps but on Tuesday they were joined by Godolphin’s international stayer Oceanographer.

The Charlie Appleby-trained galloper crated a strong impression in his first Australian start when storming home late to claim third in the Group III Geelong Cup.

That performance enabled him meet the first ballot clause of the Melbourne Cup race conditions but he remained outside the top 24 places in 29th spot.

Oceanographer’s presence in the Lexus Stakes has resulted in bookmakers firming his Melbourne Cup quote from $41 into $26.

The son of Sea The Stars has been installed the $3.60 second favourite behind Real Love in Saturday’s staying contest.

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