As part of Flemington?s highly anticipated Super Saturday of Racing taking place this weekend on March 6 the prestigious $1 million Group 1 Darley Australian Cup (2000m) will be held featuring 16 star stayers.
The current pre-race favourite is the Mick Price-trained Heart Of Dreams at $6 with Sportsbet.com.au. A dual Group 1 winner, Heart Of Dreams has drawn barrier eight for Saturday and will have Craig Newitt aboard.
A winner of five of his fifteen career starts, Heart Of Dreams is eager to secure a prestigious Group win this autumn following two close second placings in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes to Typhoon Tracy and the Group 2 St George Stakes to La Rocket.
The four-year-old Show A Heart gelding took out the Group 1 Australian Guineas here last year and if successful on Saturday will become the first horse ever to go from an Australian Guineas victory to success in the Australian Cup the following year.
Price also has Miss Maren engaged in the 2010 Australian Cup, currently an $11 chance. The five-year-old mare is coming off a fast finishing third in the St George Stakes and will jump from gate ten with Damien Oliver behind the reins.
The Mark Kavanagh-trained Shocking is the second favourite for the Australian Cup at $7.50. Due to jump from barrier 12 with in-form hoop Michael Rodd aboard, the four-year-old son of Street Cry is yet to win a race since taking out the Melbourne Cup last year in sensational style.
Also popular with the punters is Zipping at $8 in barrier 13.
Other exciting prospects for Saturday?s Australian Cup include the David Hayes-trained Zagreb who placed third in the race last year, drawn ideally in barrier one. Bart Cumming?s Encosta De Lago gelding Sirmione has also drawn well in gate three. And another entry from local trainer Hayes is Danzero colt Extra Zero, the only three-year-old in the event coming off a brilliant win the Group 2 Caulfield Autumn Classic. Zagreb, Sirminoe and Extra Zero are all sitting at $12.
A brilliant line-up of group races will take place at the meeting including the $1 million Newmarket Handicap headlined by All Silent, Starspangledbanner and Eagle Falls, and the $750, 000 Australian Guineas where the brilliant Peter Snowden-trained Denman will face off against eight classy rivals.
Other events filling the card include the opening race of the day the $300, 000 Group 2 VRC Sires Produce Stakes, followed by the $150, 000 Group 3 Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes, then race five the $400, 000 Group 2 Kewney Stakes and then the final event of the day the $150, 000 Group 3 Schweppervesence Trophy.
The 2010 Darley Australian Cup will run as race six on the day?s elite nine-race programme.
2010 Australian Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw:
Barrier Weight (kg)
|Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||12||59||115|
MASTER O’REILLY (NZ)
|Danny O’Brien||James Winks||5||59||110|
|Robert Hickmott||Nicholas Hall||13||59||115|
|Bart Cummings||Luke Nolen||3||59||112|
HEART OF DREAMS
|Mick Price||Craig Newitt||8||59||113|
|Nigel Blackiston||Craig Williams||11||59||107|
|David Hayes||Brad Rawiller||4||59||101|
|Danny O’Brien||Kerrin McEvoy||7||59||104|
OUR AQALEEM (GB)
|David Hayes||Steven Arnold||15||59||106|
|Bart Cummings||Clare Lindop||6||59||103|
|David Hayes||Paul Gatt||1||59||104|
|Allan Denham||Mark Zahra||2||59||88|
|Pat Hyland||Dwayne Dunn||9||57||106|
MISS MAREN (NZ)
|Mick Price||Damien Oliver||10||57||109|
DIVINE REBEL (NZ)
|Michael Moroney||Sebastian Murphy||14||57||100|
|David Hayes||Glen Boss||16||54.5||102|