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More Qualifying Races For Melbourne Cup

The Victoria Racing Club has announced additions to the entry and ballot conditions for the 2008 Emirates Melbourne Cup covering both local and international races.

For the first time the winner of the weight-for-age L'Oreal Paris Mackinnon Stakes, run at Flemington three days before the Melbourne Cup, will be added to the iist of horses exempt from a Cup ballot if a final acceptor.

As the Mackinnon Stakes is a non-handicap of less than 2300 metres the winner will remain not liable for a weight penalty.

Japan's Tenno Sho (Spring) (also known as the Emperor's Cup) and run over the Cup distance of 3200m in May has also been added to the list of ballot exempt races (winner only).

In a major chnage to ballot conditoions the second and third placegetters in the current year's Cox Plate and Mackinnon Stakes respectively will pass the first ballot clause for the Melbourne Cup.

However this benefit will not guarantee a horse a Melbourne Cup start if it is lowly weighted.

The Caulfield Cup takes on even grater importance as a qualifying race as 6th, 7th & 8th placegetters will also pass the first ballot clause for the Melbourne Cup.

This also will not guarantee a horse a Cup start if it is lowly weighted.

The VRC noted that the fourth and fifth placegetters in the 2008 Caulfield Cup had already satisfied the 2008 Emirates Melbourne Cup ballot clause by having earned $60,000 or more in a flat race of 2300 metres or further since 1 August 2006.

VRC chief executive Dale Monteith said the chnages were an important step in the development of the Melbourne Cup.

"The VRC Board has been proactive in its role to ensure that the Emirates Melbourne Cup race conditions continue to be both fair and relevant, as the evolution of this great race as the staying championship of the world continues," Monteith said.

"These changes certainly reflect the Board's determination in that regard.

"Overall, the Emirates Melbourne Cup conditions are designed to attract the best possible field from Australia and overseas and to provide fair opportunity for each horse to secure a start according to its race performance history."

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