Cup hope relishes her seachange

DEMERGER, the horse The Age is following to the Melbourne Cup, is taking in the country and sea air again.

The mare galloped on the course proper at Flemington on Tuesday and worked there on Wednesday before heading past Geelong and is likely to come back to her home track only two days before her biggest test.

Trainer Danny O'Brien said the five-year-old mare had enjoyed her home away from home at trainer Kelvin Bourke's Drysdale property — and her recreation on nearby 13th Beach — so much on previous visits that he has punted on another trip having her at her peak for the cup on Tuesday.

Race rider Blake Shinn worked Demerger over 2000 metres at Flemington just after 6am on Tuesday, leaving a galloping companion behind at the turn into the straight as she came home strongly over the final 600 metres.

After handing the mare back to stable staff, Shinn said: "I think at Adelaide she worked brilliant before the race (the 3200-metre Adelaide Cup), but her work then, she just felt enormous.

"She's come on. Last time she raced against different class in the lead-up; this time in, she's racing against the best and being very competitive. I think she's probably a couple of lengths better than she was in Adelaide, which she'll have to be to win the cup. She travelled well, she let down strong. She's very fresh and bright in her work, so I expect her to run a hell of a race."

O'Brien said he could not be happier with Demerger's progress, which he described as spot-on. "She'll go back down to the beach, and we'll give her one more piece of work (on Sunday)," he said.

Demerger is a $14 chance for the cup.

STEPHEN HOWELL - The Age

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