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MELBOURNE CUP CAMPAIGN STARTS ON SATURDAY FOR THE ANDREW RAMSDEN WINNER

By Scott Gooley | Friday, May 24, 2019

Saturday’s Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes at Flemington not only will earn the winner a $240,000.00 first prize purse, but also a start in this year’s Melbourne Cup.

It is the first time the Andrew Ramsden Stakes offers ballot exception to the victor of the 2800m race and it’s an incentive that has drawn a full field of eighteen contest.

Dominating the market for Saturday are Surprise Baby ($2.60) and Steel Prince ($3.00) with all other runners well into double-figure odds as of Thursday evening.

Steel Prince assistant trainer Sam Freedman, says the timing of the race and the Melbourne Cup entry, is perfect timing for his 5yo gelding, who will be shooting for his fifth consecutive win.

"We felt our way with him to start with and after his second win for us we started looking at it (Saturday) as the best race for him," Freedman said.

"Having the exemption for the Melbourne Cup and being at this time of the year, it was a logical race for a progressive stayer.

"We didn't have huge expectations when we started with him but everytime we've raised the bar he's continued to exceed expectations, but he's got to go up another level again on Saturday.”

The challenge though will not be easy.

"Surprise Baby is a near certainty at the weights, but Steel Prince is a very tough horse and loves a dogfight."

The aptly named Surprised Baby has won four of seven starts since making her debut for Horsham Trainer Paul Presker.

The 4yo daughter of Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, scored an impressive victory in the Adelaide Cup (3200m) two starts back, before closing strongly behind Steel Prince last start over 2600m at Flemington.

Surprise Baby meets Steel Prince 6kgs better at the weights on Saturday, compared to last start.

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