2018 Australian Cup – Preview and Tips
The second Group 1 feature at Flemington this Saturday is the Australian Cup run over 2000 metres. It features a strong line-up, with the in-form Gailo Chop looking to make it three-in-a-row.
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Here’s the field:
90x13 1. Hartnell (6), J: C Williams, W: 59 kgs, 7.50
402x2 2. Almandin (11), J: D Oliver, W: 59 kgs, 5.50
X450x 3. Ambitious (12), J: D Lane, W: 59 kgs, 26.00
50x11 4. Gailo Chop (10), J: M Zahra, W: 59 kgs, 2.80
200x4 5. Ventura Storm (2), J: R Bayliss, W: 59 kgs, 34.00
03422 6. Supply And Demand (9), J: S Baster, W: 59 kgs, 34.00
67x28 7. Harlem (4), J: M Walker, W: 59 kgs, 31.00
14x39 8. Lord Fandango (1), J: J Childs, W: 59 kgs, 34.00
5041x 9. The Taj Mahal (7), J: B Melham, W: 58.5 kgs, 7.00
153x1 10. Homesman (3), J: M Dee, W: 58.5 kgs, 11.00
20x22 11. Single Gaze (5), J: Ms K O'Hara, W: 57 kgs, 8.50
13421 12. Devise (8), J: C Schofield, W: 57 kgs, 19.00
The old warrior Hartnell has done it all really. From 1400 metres to 3200 metres, he’s won or been placed in some big Group 1 races. I’m not sure which version of the horse will turn up on Saturday, but he’d be good for your multiple bets.
The former Melbourne Cup winner Almandin has just come back into a new campaign, with an obvious target of the Sydney riches awaiting with The Championships set to go in a few weeks. Rider Damien Oliver won the Guineas last week with Grunt from a wide draw. Can he repeat the performance and make it 109 Group 1 victories on Saturday?
The second of the Macedon Lodge runners is The Taj Mahal. He’ll be coming in fresh, but did finish his last prep with a win in the Zipping Classic at Sandown. The punters aren’t letting him get away on the tote. Expect a bold showing.
Homesman is the former Irish galloper who defeated Almandin in the Mornington Cup Prelude a few weeks back. He also looks like a handy acquisition for the Lloyd Williams operation out at Macedon Lodge. If he wins, expect him to be among the early favourites for the 2018 Melbourne Cup. I will be watching with interest.
Ambitious is the most interesting galloper lining up here. The former Japanese star now with Anthony Freedman’s stable follows in the footsteps of Tosen Stardom, but could be up against it here, given his conditioning and time away from the racetrack. He’s had the one barrier trial, and from a wide draw, I’m looking to others at this stage.
He’ll be your race favourite, and has won on the track and at the same distance previously. Gailo Chop might very well have his name etched on the Australian Cup already. Is that a bold statement?
Ventura Storm and Harlem are the two Lindsay Park contenders. Both are good horses, but for this Australian Cup edition, I’ll be putting my money on others.
The Sydney visitor Supply And Demand and promising Ballarat stayer Lord Fandango are both at longish odds ($34.00) and that surprises me somewhat. It wouldn’t come as a shock if either finished in the placings. The latter is my roughie.
The perennial bridesmaid, Canberra mare Single Gaze has been racing in solid form of late, and surely must be in contention for a race like the Australian Cup? Her name would not be amiss on the honour roll.
Kiwi mare Devise recently won the Group 1 Haunui Farm Classic over 1600 metres in New Zealand two weeks back. She rated as the second best staying filly behind Bonneval last season, but truth be told, she’d need to be jumping out of her skin to feature here, as the form-line for the Haunui wasn’t very strong.
The form horse, without doubt, is Gailo Chop. He’s a bit of a Flemington track specialist now, and Mark Zahra will get him onto the speed at the outset. The mare Single Gaze must surely be close to breaking through her run of seconds? She gets her chance on Saturday before heading to Sydney. I have her placing second – yet again. Almandin‘s first run back this prep was encouraging, and on his day he’s good enough to put this field to the sword.
Gailo Chop, Single Gaze, Almandin
Lord Fandango A$34 SP
Australian Cup – check the odds on William Hill