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Amelie’s Star stakes her claim for Cup glory

Darren Weir might have been disappointed by the defeat of Humidor in the Turnbull Stakes, his Caulfield and Melbourne Cup hope thrashed by the mighty Winx.

But he was able to smile shortly afterwards when his improving staying mare Amelie's Star staked her Melbourne Cup claims with a terrific win in the 2500-metre Bart Cummings to guarantee herself a place in the Cup field.

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Jockey Damien Lane on Amelie's Star wins race 7, The Bart Cummings at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday.

Jockey Damien Lane on Amelie's Star wins race 7, The Bart Cummings at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday. Photo: MAL FAIRCLOUGH

The daughter of Testa Rossa has clearly inherited her stamina from her grandfather on her mother's side, that terrific staying sire Zabeel.

It looks as though the further she goes the better Amelie's Star will be after she and Damian Lane bolted away to win by two lengths from the Team Williams outsider Granddukeoftuscany ($91), with another Weir-trained longshot, Kellstorm, third.

Last season's Melbourne Cup winner Almandin – the current market leader for this year's renewal – had been hugely impressive when winning over the same course and distance in September, but could finish no closer than fourth. But he remains on course for another tilt at the big one.

Amelie's Star, who is down among the lightweights, now looks to be a lively outsider given her liking for the long Flemington straight and her preference for a searching test of stamina.

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What was also remarkable about this race was the performance of Almandin's stablemate, Granddukeoftuscany, who jumped off and dictated the pace to ensure the race was a genuine staying test.

He was entitled to fade away in the straight but he rallied strongly to take second.

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Lane will not be able to get down to the 51-kilogram weight Amelie's Star has been allotted in the Melbourne Cup, but believes she will make her presence felt if she lines up.

"She worked to the line. I thought there might have been a change of rider after the last two efforts on her, but I am lucky enough to have had another go and she was too good today," Lane said.

"She's a quality mare. If it all goes well and they get her to the Melbourne Cup she will run well no doubt.

"She's pulled up great today, she sprints well off a staying tempo."

Weir added: "Her record suggests that the step up in trip today was going to be a big plus.

"Barriers are a big thing in racing. We got the bad barrier last start and had to go back and got into a position where it was just impossible to win.

"Today from a good draw the plan was to be in the first half. We got the bet run of any horse in the race and got the result," Weir said.

"She has had a beautiful preparation [and] she will have to run between now and then. But she's very sound, she has lots of miles in her legs. We just need to get things right between now and then and who knows what will happen."

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