Last year’s winner Green Moon beating this year’s favourite Fiorente
The race that stops a nation takes place in the early hours of Tuesday Morning over here and with significant European interest, not just through raiders but also on the breeding side; it is a race I cannot wait for this year.
My knowledge of Australia Racing is certainly not as good as my knowledge of Racing over here, but one person that seems to know both of them like the back of his hand is Andrew Hawkins and I cannot recommend giving his Cup guide a read any more highly.
He has put a truly monumental amount of effort into a race he enjoys so much so please click the link below. Also below is our video for the race, with the usual suspects, Luke, Adam and Michael.
Anyway to the race itself and I may as well start with my antepost fancies, BROWN PANTHER and MASKED MARVEL. Both are very well known to the UK Racing scene, the former still trained over here by Tom Dascombe and of course owned by Andrew Black and Michael Owen.
This has been the plan for the son of Shirocco for an absolute age and he showed all his class this season when taking a decent Goodwood Cup in August on his first try at the trip.
The race was run to suit him as nothing bar subsequent Cadran winner Altano came from off the pace but to beat the highly consistent Ahzeemah in the way he did was very impressive. He had a lovely prep run again at the Sussex track over 10f and comes into the race in superb form.
Any rain would be a real positive but he goes on virtually any ground, shows he stays, has a good low draw where he can maintain a decent position just off the pace and there’s absolutely no reason why he won’t run a huge race.
As I have said before on twitter I am on already at 40/1 and am very pleased seeing as he’s half the price. I still think he’s a good bet at his present odds.
Masked Marvel comes with a very different profile. Formerly trained by John Gosden, he won the Leger in 2011; with out of interest the first four of that race all taking part here, with just one (Brown Panther) still being trained over here.
That was a race run at an extremely strong pace and the gruelling test may have really knocked him as he was never right in his whole 2012 campaign
He has since joined the Hickmott/Williams team down under, winners of the race last year with Green Moon, and he is one of their six representatives in the field.
Brown Panther has a great chance from a decent draw as he has plenty of speed and bags of stamina
His form figures don’t inspire but he has been begging for this trip all season and has acquitted himself pretty well anyway, placed in two decent Randwick races, the latter he should have won if he hadn’t hung left, a trait which he showed over here anyway at times, especially on wide and open tracks.
He never featured in the Cox Plate when last seen but the pace didn’t suit him and I was quite impressed how much ground he made up going about seven or eight wide on the turn, also showing he does have a turn of foot. Fast ground has always seen him at his best and like I said before he is begging for the trip now. At 33/1 he still rates a decent bet.
It’s well worth looking at all the Hickmott runners now, with Green Moon running off 9-1, 9lb higher than last year. He tries blinkers too and ran a really good race in the Cox Plate too so I’m sure he’ll run a big race, but it’s a very tough task to be winning it.
The same applies for another former winner Dunaden who off 9-3 has a real big ask, especially as he hasn’t had a prep run over here thui time and didn’t run particularly well last year.
Hickmott’s main fancy seems to be Sea Moon who without doubt for me of all the European connected horses, is the classiest of them all. A former Hardwicke and Voltigeur, he was rated near 120 over here and is really starting to find his feet down under.
After trying inadequate trips to begin with, the step up to 1m4f saw him take both his last two starts at Flemington and Caulfield, setting him up really nicely for this. He is quite high up the weights but fully deserves to be and though stamina is a question mark, he has to come into consideration.
Caulfield Cup winner Faulkner had most of his best form around 7f-1m before that but he showed he stays further with that impressive victory. It’s a huge ask to then go on and win this and naturally stamina is a lot less proven than most for the extra 4f.
Mourayan was 7th last year and has won the Sydney Cup this season but is definitely the outsider of the six, leaving SEVILLE as the last one to be mentioned. This former Aidan O’Brien inmate ran in Masked Marvel’s Leger and has really thrived since the application of blinkers and stepping up to 12f.
He firstly took a Grade 1 Handicap at Randwick before running best of the Hickmott trio in the Cox Plate, finishing seventh. Stepping back up in trip can only suit and he has to be backed after an apparent ideal preparation.
Favourite at this stage is Fiorente trained by Gai Waterhouse. She has yet to win the Cup but went mighty close with this one last year on Australian debut off just 3lb lower.
Last year’s winning connections have six chances this year
According to his trainer he is bulkier and a happier horse this time around, and he’s had a great prep, finishing a place behind Caulfield winner Fawkner here over 10f and then running a cracker for third in the Cox Plate. He shows he stays already and I cannot argue at all with him being favourite, especially with a good draw too.
Waterhouse also runs French import Tres Blue who fits the characteristics of Fiorente last year having his first run for connections. He has reportedly put on an enormous amount of weight since joining and is thriving. His French form at around 12f is strong and there’s plenty of hope he will get the trip on pedigree. He sneaks in off an absolute feather weight and I’m struggling to oppose him on anything bar a wide draw and possible inexperience.
Three European raiders are right at the head of the market. Dandino, after his extremely good run in the Caulfield Cup has been very well supported. However he was ready to run a massive race there and without doubt that test would have suited him more than this. He won at Arlington before that but it was a weak race as it usually is. He has fast ground which he loves but the jury is out for me in him staying well enough to win and there’s no value in him.
Mount Athos convinces more in staying and was particularly unlucky last year when flying home for fifth. Fast ground has always been his ideal and he again comes into the race in good form. He could never land a blow in the Goodwood Cup but that wasn’t really his fault and his second to Harris Tweed next time has worked out unbelievably well (Tac De Boistron well beaten in third).
The draw makes life difficult in 22 though and I just feel that is enough to go against him for win purposes. French raider Verema represents Alain De Royer-Dupre who won this in 2010 with Americain and these slowly run races always suit the French types.
That one took the Geelong Cup before the big race and I would be a touch worried she hasn’t had a prep run but she stays very well, has good tactical speed, form on good ground, a decent draw and low weight, meaning she ticks many boxes. The rest of the home team are probably led by Hawkspur, one of only five home bred horses to line up in the 24 runner field. Trained by Chris Waller he has run well twice now without threatening behind Fawkner, the latter when coming from off the pace in the Caulfield Cup.
His running style means he needs a hell of a lot of luck though and stall 18 does not help matters. Waller also runs the classy Foreteller, a Group 1 winner over 8-10f this year. He stayed on well in the Cox Plate last time and is worth a try at the trip but I’d be surprised if he necessarily improved for it, which he needs to do off 8-9.
Super Cool has shown he stays quite well this Spring though he yet to race past 1m2f and it would be some feat for a Fastnet Rock to win a race like this over two miles.Dear Demi has a squeak, the 2012 Crown Oaks runner finishing really well just behind Side Glance at the weekend and she is well worth the try at the trip. Ethiopia, the last to be mentioned of the home breds, is hard to fancy after running no race in this last year.
Not many more to cover, Voleuse De Coeurs being the last of the home team. Dermot Weld did not want to get rid of this smart filly that annihilated Ahzeemah over 1m6f when last seen in the Irish Leger. This certainly wasn’t the plan and though she will stay, others convince more for this year.
Peter Moody, obviously best known for training the great Black Caviar, takes his chance with Ibicenco who won the Geelong Cup, a race that has in the recent past been a superb trial for this. It was a weak race this time though and others convince especially from a fairly high draw.
Simenon is geared for a huge run for the master Willie Mullins after a great prep run too
I really liked his prep for the race where showed he has more than enough speed to contend at 1m4f in a race just won by Sea Moon. He stays all day, has a good draw and is better treated than most. He and Brown Panther are without doubt my main fancies. Godolphin have gone extremely close in the past to winning this, Central Park, Give The Slip, Beekeeper and Crime Scene have all hit the frame.
This year Royal Empire is their representative. I liked this horse last year when racking up a couple of wins in Meydan handicaps and he’s done well this year, winning twice at Newbury, including beating Red Cadeaux in the Geoffrey Freer off the same terms they run here. He finished runner-up on the polytrack to Prince Bishop and then on soft ground to Secret Number, not disgracing at all in both those run.
I do feel he takes quite a while to wind up which could possibly make him vulnerable at the key point of the race but he will almost certainly stay, he has a decent draw and if travelling well he has a huge chance. Former runner-up Red Cadeaux is always best when on his travels but he was only eighth last year and off 8-13 it would be a real surprise if he could win especially from stall 23.
The last one to mention is Ruscello off bottom weight for Ed Walker. He is drawn widest of all in 24 which won’t help this likely front runner but he did win the Lexus last week to get into this and he could be the one to guarantee this is run at a decent clip.
Already Advised – Brown Panther 1pt e/w @40/1 Bet365
Masked Marvel 1pt e/w @33/1 generally
Advice – Simenon 1.5pts e/w @12/1 generally
Seville 1.5pts e/w @18/1 generally
Brown Panther 0.5pts e/w @18/1 888Sport