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James McDonald and Chris Waller found themselves with an early double on Derby Day as short-priced favourite Great House won the Group 3 Lexus Hotham Stakes at Flemington.

The son of Galileo defied the late drift in the market and will now line up in next Tuesday’s $7.75 million Melbourne Cup on the quick backup.

Great House was tested after settling a long way back, a tactic that proved to be the difference as McDonald got clear out wide down the straight to eventually wear down Mankayan.

The five-year-old will now test himself over two miles for the first time on Tuesday, but with only 50kg’s on his back, there’s no question he’s capable of seeing it out.

Saturday’s Hotham Stakes winner, Great House. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

“He had to tough it out there and it was genuine tempo. He got the first half beautifully, relaxed well, and chimed into it,” McDonald told Racing.com.

“I actually thought he was going to win a bit easier, but there was a tough horse inside me, and credit to him, he stuck to his guns and got the job done.”

Great House is deep into his spring prep with Saturday’s run marking his ninth start since June.

He’s held his form nicely though, particularly over the last month where he’s finished fifth behind the placegetters in both The Metropolitan and the Caulfield Cup.

“He’s been a nice sound horse and he’s been honest. Every time we’ve raised the bar he seems to have stepped up to the plate, so why not keep doing that?”, Chris Waller’s stable representative Jo Taylor said.

The talented stayer has firmed from $51 into $26.00 in Ladbrokes’ Melbourne Cup market, but it remains to be seen who will be in the saddle next Tuesday.

“I’m sure Chris (Waller) has got a few penciled in. Right now we’ll take him home, wrap him up in cotton wool and try and get him here in the best possible order on Tuesday,” Taylor went on to say.

Ladbrokes’ All-In Melbourne Cup market is available here.

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