Melbourne and Ipswich Cups heats on Thursday

Sandown Park track record hold Bekim Bale has drawn box eight in the fifth heat of the 2011 Melbourne Cup (515m) on Thursday.

Last week’s Shootout winner is likely to start odds on to progress with a clear run being assured.

Not blessed with the greatest early speed, the Andrea Daily trained star will need to contender with the in-form Adelaide Cup winner Mepunga Nicky who is expected to lead from box three.

The Melbourne Cup carries a first prize of $200,000 with the final to be conducted on November 17.

Only the eight winnersof the heats make the final leaving little room for error.

The Ipswich Cup series also gets under way on Thursday with a full deck of eight heats.

Leading the charge is the former Sandown track record holder Iso Octane who is resuming after an injury.

The heats include Queensland’s two Top Gun reps Bogie King and He Knows Uno as well as the tops class Cold Fusion who jumps form box one in heat eight.

Neither Cold Fusion or Iso Octane have raced at Ipswich but class is expected to take them into the final.

While no betting is up for the final one would have He Knows Uno as the early favourite.

Out of all the top notch dogs in the Ipswich Cup heats, he is the one with the track experience as well.