A ticket to the Big Dance eluded Theresa Bateup.
Success was similarly out of reach for Robert and Luke Price at Kembla Grange on Thursday.
Bateup's plan of pushing through the metropolitan winter and on to the Coffs Harbour Cup with Monegal, in pursuit of a place at the new $2 million The Big Dance on Melbourne Cup day, fell a couple of lengths short.
Jockey Brock Ryan was shuffled back on the rail on settling, but fought on gamely late to be fourth behind impressive Lloyd Williams gelding Hosier, trained by Kris Lees.
"It's a pleasure to have the colours in the stable, but more importantly to win a race for them," Lees told Sky Racing. Back at Kembla Grange and leading trainer Chris Waller unearthed another star of the future, when second starter Arnold kicked clear by three lengths ahead of Speak Now and Golden Passport, with James MacDonald on board.
Kimberley Rain was overrun late by Adam Duggan's New Tycoon in a Benchmark 68 (1400m), while three-year-old Headwater gelding Headstock had too much to do, running fourth behind Aureus Angel in a 1000m Maiden. But the Prices now turn to their biggest quest.
With the $15 million The Everest just two months away, Luke Price is hoping to lock down a slot out of Saturday's Missile Stakes at Randwick. Count De Rupee won the Group 2 Victory Stakes in April and was runner-up in the Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes, but had little impact in the Group 1 Newmarket, TJ Smith or Doomben 10,000 this year.
But Price has kept the faith in the now five-year-old gelding's sprinting abilities for the $1m The Gong (1600m) winner, who was also second in the 1500m Golden Eagle.
"If he puts his hand up and he's good enough to go to the Everest that's where we're going that's for sure," Price told Racing NSW.
"If I was to get an Everest slot I'd have to get it early to get the timing right and plan out a program to keep that sprint in his legs.
"He could run a strong mile but his turn of foot is too good at the moment to let that go to waste."
Count De Rupee was an impressive second next to Forbidden Love in a trial on the Randwick synthetic last month.
Forbidden Love is a $3 Missile Stakes favourite, with Count De Rupee at $6.
The build-up to the Everest comes as Racing NSW announced a new $30 million boost to prizemoney across the state, including the country racing feature The Kosciuszko, now worth $2 million. Spring sprint features the Spring Stakes now has $2 million attached to it, while the Nature Strip Stakes is now up to $3 million.
In autumn, the Queen Elizabeth, won this year by Kerry Parker's Think It Over, is among the races boosted, from $4 million to $5 million.
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