Divan showed his connections that he could be an Emirates Melbourne Cup horse, after holding on to win the Starlight Children’s Foundation Plate (2000m) for prominent owner Lloyd Williams.
Macedon Lodge had little luck in ‘the race that stops a nation’ in 2015, with The United States finishing 14th – while two others Team Williams had a share in, Bondi Beach (16th) and Kingfisher (19th) – fared no better.
Already with an eye to the first Tuesday in November in 2016, Nick Williams said four-year-old Divan – who held off the well-tried Velox from Lindsay Park – could very well be a top stayer after watching just his seventh career start.
Williams said given Divan’s bloodlines – he’s by Zabeel out of Seachange – success with the gelding would hold more sentimental value than most.
“Racing’s about dreaming, and there’s nothing we’d love to do more than have that horse in the Melbourne Cup next year,” Williams said.
“Being by Zabeel, we’ve owned over 100 of them over the time – he’s now deceased so there’s no more Zabeels.
“There would be nothing make us happier than to win the Melbourne Cup with a Zabeel.”
Williams noted Divan’s last start – when he closed home hard for second in the Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) – told them plenty about his staying prowess.
Bendigo Cup winner The Offer went on to run 3.3 lengths eighth on Tuesday for trainer Gai Waterhouse.
“He ran beyond all expectations in the Bendigo Cup when he was 27 ratings points out of the handicaps, but managed to finish three-quarters of a length second to Gai’s horse The Offer,” Williams said.
“We put him back in his right grade today. He ran well.
“He looked like he was travelling so well at the turn.
“I was wondering whether Ollie [Oliver] would get out or not – but you put the best on, and they manage to do the best.
“You thought he might put four or five lengths on them, but he probably just didn’t like the soft ground absolutely.”
He added: “He’s a stayer, but he’s very immature.
“What we’re just trying to do is get some experience into him this campaign, so we can target bigger races in the autumn and next spring.”