Tomorrow’s $215 000 Geelong Cup will see a field full of contenders hoping to make their way into the Melbourne Cup on November 3. The race is one of the final opportunities for runners vying for a start at Flemington.
Heading the betting markets for the 2406 metre handicap are international gallopers Basaltico and Crime Scene. Basaltico’s trainer Luca Cumani will be trying to reclaim some spring carnival success after his Caulfield Cup contender, Cima De Triomphe finished a disappointing 13th. While the famous Godolphin will be aiming for the same with Crime Scene following their Caulfield failure with Kirklees finishing seventh last Saturday.
Cumani has a good record at Geelong, scoring victory last year with Bauer. This year the pressure is on as Basaltico, Cumani’s sole Melbourne Cup hopeful, is currently 33rd in the elimination order and needs a win at Geelong to assure himself a start in the $5.5million handicap. The stress is off a little for Godolphin as Crime Scene is already guaranteed a start in the Melbourne Cup ranked 21st in order of elimination.
Crime Scene is topweight in the Geelong Cup with 57.5kg, after winning eight of his 27 starts, and will start from gate three with Kerrin McEvoy aboard.
Basaltico has barrier 13 and 55.5kg and will be ridden by Damien Oliver, who has won the Geelong Cup on both Media Puzzle and Bauer.
In recent years the Geelong Cup has been a decent guide and strong form race for the Melbourne Cup, with Media Puzzle in 2002 the first to win the double and last year’s Geelong Cup victor, Bauer, continuing on to finish second by the narrowest of margins at Flemington to Viewed.
Other starters at Geelong tomorrow include lightweight chance Zacroona, representing lead trainer Lee Freedman and ridden by Dwayne Dunn.
New Zealand raider Young Centaur, jumping from gate 7, will be ridden by Craig Williams, who is returning from suspension and hoping to add another Geelong Cup to his credit after winning on Savrocca (2000), Mandela (2006) and The Fuzz (2007).
And Saturday’s Caulfield Cup winning jockey Brad Rawiller is back to chase more acclaim, he has the mount on Stormhill, the Benalla Cup winner and Cranbourne Cup runner-up.