Bendigo trainer Brendon Hearps will have a runner in the $500,000 Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series final at Flemington on Oaks Day.
Hearps' consistent galloper Vungers ran second in a 1400m heat of the lucrative series at Horsham on Sunday to earn an auotmatic berth in the 1600m final.
Second up from a spell, Vungers was trapped wide early in running before jockey Harry Coffey made a decisive move to work the seven-year-old to the front of the field.
Despite having to do plenty of work early, Vungers showed his customary toughness to go within half a length of winning the race.
The top two finished two lengths ahead of the rest of the field.
Bendigo galloper Just Folk, trained by Josh Julius, was well-backed into favourite but could only manage seventh.
Fellow Bendigo galloper Tatunka went back to last from its outside draw and had no hope of being in the finish.
Both horses could now head to another heat of the series on Bendigo Cup day.
Julius already has a runner in the final after Highclass Harry ran second in the opening heat at Murtoa.
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