Grandma won the Cup, now it’s my turn

Cup dreams: Let’s Make Adeal with strapper Will Ford at Flemington. Photo: Joe ArmaoNigel Blackiston has got form when it comes to knowing what’s needed to prepare a Melbourne Cup winner: he was the man who led Let’s Elope off the float when she first arrived at Bart Cummings’ Melbourne stables in the winter of 1991 to be prepared for a Cups campaign by the master trainer.
Nanjing Night Net

Back then Blackiston was working in Cummings’ Melbourne operation and Let’s Elope was a little-known New Zealand galloper who had been bought by Dennis Marks. By the end of the spring of 1991 the mare had completed the Caulfield and Melbourne cups double, and Blackiston was well and truly bitten by the cups bug.

Fast forward more than two decades and the English-born horseman is a Flemington-based trainer – and he would like nothing more than to emulate the man from whom he learnt so much when he arrived in Australia in the late 1980s.

He believes that Let’s Make Adeal, a lightly raced grand-daughter of Let’s Elope, can put his name in the spotlight if she gets the chance to show what she can do in Australia’s greatest race where 41 horses remain on the entry list and she is number 40. Blackiston trains the four-year-old for Marks, and he believes that if she can squeeze into the field she will be more than competitive, especially as she will have the services of Cox Plate-winning jockey Chad Schofield in the saddle.

To force her way into the race the daughter of Red Ransom will have to win the Lexus Stakes on Saturday.

Horses who win the 2500-metre handicap are catapulted directly into the field and, even though they are backing up three days later in the Cup, Lexus winners have a terrific record: three of the past four (Kellini 2012, Maluckyday 2010 and Shocking 2009) have finished in the first four on the first Tuesday in November, with Shocking winning.

Blackiston has only ever had one previous Cup runner in his own name – Littorio, a dual group 1 winner who has been his best horse. He finished 13th behind Cummings’ last winner, Viewed, in 2008.

”It would be fantastic to get her in the field. I have only had her a while but I have always felt she would be a really good stayer. She has a tremendous pedigree being a grand daughter of Let’s Elope and I have several of her near relations in the stable – horses like Outback Joe, who is her uncle, her aunt Karata and Let’s Make Adeal’s half-brother, Heez Notorious,” says Blackiston.

”She does remind me a lot of Let’s Elope when she first came here. She had only won a maiden race and a group 3 race but improved tremendously in the spring of her four-year-old career as the distances got longer. This horse won a maiden for me and then was only beaten a head in a group 3 race in Adelaide in the autumn.”

It was that race at Morphettville – the 2500-metre SA Classic – that fired Blackiston’s Cup dream.

Many people thought he was tilting at windmills in early September when he ran Let’s Make Adeal at Flemington in the group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes against the likes of Puissance De Lune, Foreteller and Sea Moon. She ran out of her skin to finish fourth that day.

”I knew then that she would run a long distance. We have had to work hard to try and get her rating up during the spring to try to get into the good races. I initially wanted to get her into the Caulfield Cup, but she didn’t make the field. I know it’s a dream, but if she does get there on Cup day she won’t be disgraced. And if she doesn’t, well we will try again next year.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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