A winner at Flemington last Saturday, Laristan is still no certainty for this weekend’s Group 1 Australian Cup but trainer David Hayes is confident the four-year-old is on track for a go at the 2011 Sydney Cup later in the season.
On Saturday Laristan claimed an impressive 2 ½ length victory over the Lloyd Williams-owned Mourayan in the National Jockey Celebration Day Victoria Plate (2000m), showing great improvement from their disappointing first-up failure in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 12.
It was the first win in Australia for the imported French stayer who seems to be adjusting to the Aussie way of racing and is one of 35 horses heading towards a start in the $1 million Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington this Saturday March 12.
Laristan is currently sitting 28th on the Australian Cup order of entry, a $34 chance to win in the Luxbet markets but unlikely to gain a start in the 18-horse final field.
A decision will be made tomorrow by Hayes whether he chooses to accept Laristan for the Australian Cup, the final field due to be released Wednesday morning and published here at Races.com.au.
“If he pulls up well – he’s a ferocious eater – we may back him up next week because I think he’s a real Flemington horse and I don’t know if it’s the deepest Australian Cup.
“We’ll have a little think until Wednesday and then make our decision,” Hayes said.
Australian Cup betting is dominated by current $4.80 favourite Heart Of Dreams who won the Group 2 St George Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield last start.
Defending champ, evergreen nine-year-old Zipping the $5 second favourite in the Luxbet Australian Cup odds followed by Moudre ($7) and Precedence ($7).
Hayes has named the $500,000 Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at the Royal Randwick on April 23 as the major autumn aim for Laristan who is one of 87 early 2011 Sydney Cup Nominations.
Check the full 2011 Australian Cup betting markets before prices shorten tomorrow at Luxbet now.
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