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Melbourne Cup dream alive for Hamada as Raymond Tusk team eye St Leger

James Doyle and Hamada win at Newbury to set up a possible Melbourne Cup bid for the Godolphin gelding
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The dream of conquering Australia's greatest race is well and truly alive for Godolphin after Hamada captured the £60,000 Geoffrey Freer Stakes, but the ambitious plans connections have for runner-up Raymond Tusk remain in place following his creditable performance.

Betfair Sportsbook quoted Hamada at 25-1 (from 40) for the Lexus Melbourne Cup, while Sky Bet cut him to 14-1 second favourite (from 20), and he could form a strong raiding party for trainer Charlie Appleby.

Along with Hamada, whose jockey James Doyle incurred a two-day ban for careless riding, Appleby could also send Walton Street, third in this Irish Thoroughbred Marketing-sponsored Group 3, and Glorious Goodwood winner Cross Counter down under.


Replay, result and analysis of the Geoffrey Freer


His assistant Alex Merriam said: "Australia's definitely the plan and we're very pleased with that.

"James was happy. He said he's seen the race out well. He said the ground was probably on the soft side for him, so Australia might suit him well. I think Charlie has had Australia in mind for some time and the horse has kept improving."

Appleby has shown a knack for sending the right horses to Australia and won the Group 1 Sydney Cup with Polarisation last year.

Of this year's team, Merriam added: "Walton Street has finished third there, so hopefully he's booked his place, while Cross Counter is also a possibility.

"I think we'll weigh up the options, see how next week goes and Charlie will decide things.

"Charlie has done well out there and won some nice races. Qewy was fourth in the Melbourne Cup a few years ago and Charlie knows what horses to take. Hopefully we've got the right ones this year."

South Yorkshire, not Flemington, is the likely destination for Raymond Tusk, whose trainer Richard Hannon is well up for a crack at the William Hill St Leger.

The son of High Chaparral, a Listed winner at Hamilton last month, is a general 16-1 for the Doncaster Classic.

"The St Leger is still on and I think he's an ideal type for the race," said Hannon, who thinks the world of the promising colt.

"He was still a bit gassy, but he lost a lot of weight when he came back from Scotland and we had to get it back on him, so I know he'll improve massively for it.

"He had to do a bit of the donkey work and was slightly softened up by the other Godolphin horse [Walton Street], but after getting into a bit of trouble he ran on to be second, so the trip is no problem.

"The interference will do him good, experience wise, as it will harden him up. I love him."


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Australia's definitely the plan and we're very pleased with that
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