The retirement of Shamardal mare Faint Perfume late last week has left the ‘Cups King’ Bart Cummings with just one 2011 Australian Cup contender, Precedence now his sole hope of Group 1 glory in the million feature this year.
Connections chose to retire four-year-old Faint Perfume after she failed to perform up to par at both of her starts this season.
Faint Perfume will become a valuable broadmare as a dual Group 1 winner having won the 2009 Crown Oaks at Flemington’s Melbourne Cup Carnival two years back and then the 2010 Vinery Stud Stakes at Rosehill in April last year.
After her successful autumn campaign last year that also included a second to Once Were Wild in the Group 1 AJC Oaks (2400m), Faint Perfume failed to produce a good run during the spring.
From six spring starts including three Group 1 runs, Faint Perfume could finish no better than sixth, which she ran behind Zipping in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
Spelled after Emirate Stakes Day, Faint Perfume resumed in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 12 this season finishing a distant 13th of 16 runners beaten 10 lengths by the also now-retired mare Typhoon Tracy.
At her final career start Faint Perfume finished second-last in the 13-horse field in the Group 2 St George Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day, February 26.
Faint Perfume’s career record at the time of her retirement stood at five wins, one second and a third from 19 starts for $1,465,290 in prize money.
Cummings had originally nominated Faint Perfume for the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m), set to run as one of two elite level features at Flemington’s Super Saturday of Racing, as the legendary trainer vies for his 14th Australian Cup victory.
Precedence is now Cummings’ sole Australian Cup hopeful, the Zabeel five-year-old coming off a brave second to Heart Of Dreams in the St George Stakes.
Eighth on the Australian Cup order of entry, Precedence is guaranteed a start in the maximum 18-horse Australian Cup field.
Luxbet currently have Precedence as a $7 shot in their Australian Cup odds.
Final acceptances for the 2011 Dubai Australian Cup field are taken tomorrow and will be published first here at Races.com.au.
Australian Cup betting at our preferred online bookmaker Luxbet is lead by $4.80 favourite Heart Of Dreams, the St George Stakes winner narrowly ahead in the odds from $5 second pick and defending Australian Cup champ Zipping.
Odds are sure to shorten following the Australian Cup final field announcement tomorrow morning, so now is the time to back your favourites at their generous early prices at Luxbet!