Bart tips Illo as top cup hope

Cups king  Bart Cummings is leaning towards Illo as his best chance of winning a 13th Melbourne Cup, after stablemate Precedence finished near the tail of the field in the Mackinnon Stakes yesterday.

Cummings was looking for a better performance from the co-Kiwi owned Precedence, with the blinkers back on, but he was beaten almost 10 lengths into ninth place.

"I think he is looking for two miles because he's certainly no good at a mile-and-a-quarter," Cummings said.

He was reluctant to split Precedence and his German import, Illo, who was third to Americain when making his Australian debut in last Saturday's Moonee Valley Cup, but on form has a leaning to Illo.

"I know Precedence is better at two miles, and we got no guide today, but I thought he might run a bit better than he did.

"Illo might be the one to back on Tuesday."

The connections of Mackinnon winner Glass Harmonium last night elected to pay up for the cup, despite reservations the horse will stay the 3200m trip.

Ridden by Damien Oliver, Glass Harmonium took up the running, kicked strongly and held on to win the 2000m event, earning his owners $A600,000.

The effort was compensation for trainer Mike Moroney after the disappointment of last week when problems with the starting stalls saw the horse play up and bungle the start of the Cox Plate.

Moroney said he had been in two minds about a cup start.

"I've always had a bit of a question mark with him over two miles but if they [the owners] are ever going to try him over it, it's the race to do it in."