THE Bendigo Jockey Club will continue to push for the Jayco Bendigo Cup winner to be exempt from the ballot for the Melbourne Cup.
BJC plans to build on Bendigo Cup success: Drechsler
As it stands the Bendigo Cup is a Melbourne Cup qualifier, but the winner doesn't earn automatic entry into the race that stops the nation.
"We've come a long way - they said we'd never change our Cup date and they said we'd never be a Melbourne Cup qualifier,'' Bendigo Jockey Club president Brendan Drechsler said.
"We've achieved both of those and I'm not sure how much further we can go.
"I'd like to think in time the Bendigo Cup winner would be exempt from the ballot for the Melbourne Cup.
"The Geelong Cup and the Moonee Valley Cup aren't exempt from the ballot either, but wouldn't it be great if the winners of the Bendigo, Geelong and Moonee Valley cups went straight into the Melbourne Cup."
For the past three years the Bendigo Cup (2400m) has been run the Wednesday before the Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Winners Tanby (2011), Puissance De Lune (2012) and Sertorius (2013) haven't gone on to run in the Melbourne Cup the following week.
"We are very happy with the date we have for the Bendigo Cup and where the race sits,'' Drechsler said.
"The quality of the Cup fields the past three years have been very good.
"It would have been great for the profile of our race had Puissance De Lune gone on and ran in the top three or four in the Melbourne Cup.
"What we'd like to do in time is have the Bendigo Cup lifted to Group Three status."
The $300,000 Geelong Cup is a Group Three race, while the $240,000 Bendigo Cup is a Listed race.
"It took a while for the Geelong Cup to be lifted to Group Three status,'' Drechsler said.
"In the past couple of years the Geelong Cup hasn't been any better than the Bendigo Cup.
"In fact, you could say the Bendigo Cup fields have been stronger," the Bendigo Jockey Club president said.