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Bendigo Submission For Melb Cup Qualifying Race
After years "trying to bolster the profile of the Bendigo Cup to make it a qualifying race for the Melbourne Cup, Bendigo has been asked to make a submission to Racing Victoria," reported The Age. A Racing Victoria review of the Melbourne Spring Carnival "has invited the Bendigo Jockey Club to present a submission on its bid to make the Bendigo Cup a full qualifying race for the Melbourne Cup". The club "has failed twice in the past 2 years to have the conditions of its most important race changed". Now "it would seem significant lobbying by country supporters & the controversial announcement that the Mornington Cup (run in February) would be a qualifying race for the Caulfield Cup, has intensified the voice to make the Bendigo Cup a stepping stone to Australia's most important race". The Bendigo Cup (run 6 days before the Melbourne Cup) is currently run over 2200m & worth $150,000. Bendigo chief executive Ian Hart commented: "It's been said by the VRC that if the Bendigo Cup was a qualifying race for the Melbourne Cup it would impact on the Lexus Stakes. But I can't see how. We are in a position to improve the prize-money & move the distance of the race out to 2400m if needs be. But here at Bendigo we can't see any effect at all being felt by Derby Day races that are lead-ups to the Cup. It just means trainers & owners have another secure option to get into the race & at that same time the benefit to regional Victoria would be sensational. We have seen how the internationals have managed to reinvent the Geelong Cup & with a few internationals that are perhaps on the borderline for a run in the Cup, Bendigo could be that last-minute lifeline they need. The effect of horses vying for a Melbourne Cup spot in a strong regional part of Victoria would just make our race. We have a public holiday in place, so it would seem fitting that we could be part of the magic that envelopes the nation."