The Cranbourne Turf Club has announced the bonus for any horse that can complete the Cranbourne – Caulfield Cups double has been doubled to $2 million.
And local trainer Mick Kent, who quinellaed the cup last year with Starmon and My Bentley, has indicated that he will attempt the double with his AJC Oaks winner Absolutely.
“It’s a very attractive option,” Kent said.
“You have a six day back-up, but a lot of cup horses run off a seven day back up. The good horses will be in the Caulfield Stakes (Yalumba Stakes) and those trying to qualify (for the Caulfield Cup) will be in the Winning Edge.”
Kent said that while concrete plans had been set in place, he would decide on how to structure Absolutely’s campaign in the coming week.
“Ideally, I’d like to go into the Caulfield Cup with four runs. I would look at the JRA Trophy at Moonee Valley on (AFL) grand final eve.
“She’s a bit under the radar. Apart from her first start she’s run in stakes class every start and the only time she missed a place I thought she was ridden poorly.”
Kent also confirmed that last year’s Cranbourne Cup runner up My Bentley was training the house down and would again be aimed at the race.
The bonus for the Cups double is now the richest incentive in Australian racing history. Prize money for the Cranbourne Cup has also been lifted to $200,000. So any horse that can complete the double will pocket $3.73 million.
Cranbourne Turf Club Chairman Robin Daley said the bonus was designed to help the Cranbourne Cup become one of the highlights of the spring carnival.
“The two million dollar bonus and an increase in prize money will certainly put the focus on the Cranbourne Turf Club and make Cranbourne Cup day a feature racing event during the spring racing carnival,” Daley said.
Horses attempting to win the massive bonus will need to overcome recent history if they are to do so. In the past 21 years, just six horses have competed in both the Cranbourne and Caulfield Cups. The closest any horse came to completing the double in that time was Lisa’s Game, who won the Cranbourne Cup in 1998 before finishing second to Taufan’s Melody. The Danny O’Brien trained Barbaricus also went close in 2009, running second at Cranbourne and third at Caulfield.
This year is the third year that the Cranbourne Cup will be run as a quality handicap with a top weight of 60kg.