Former Melbourne Cup winner Americain heads a star-studded field of stayers accepted for the 2012 Australian Cup, running as one of two Group 1 features at Flemington’s Super Saturday of Racing this weekend.
The now David Hayes-trained seven-year-old, previously prepared in France by Alain de Royer Dupre, goes first-up into the $1 million Group 1 Dubai Australian Cup (2000m) running as Flemington Race 7 at 4:00pm (VIC) on Saturday.
The 2012 Australian Cup attracted the same number of final acceptors as the headline event in Sydney on the same day, the $350,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm also drawing nine hopefuls.
Americain, eye-catching fourth in last year’s Melbourne Cup before their last-start win in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Sandown on November 12, has come up with barrier nine of nine for the Australian Cup.
Jockey Steven Arnold will ride the Aussie-owned galloper for the first time, Americian looking to score their fourth first-up win from 10 attempts.
While Americain, who has sat atop the Australian Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au over the past month, has the outside gate to contend from, their No. 1 perceived danger Lucas Cranach will jump from the other end of the field in barrier one.
Anthony Freedman’s talented German import proved their autumn potential with a smart first-up win over a field full of other Australian Cup hopefuls in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 25.
With their inside draw and Nash Rawiller retaining the ride, there is every chance last year’s Melbourne Cup third placegetter will overtake Americain in the Australian Cup markets at our preferred online bookmaker – bookmaker.com.au.
The Peter Young Stakes could prove the form race for the Australian Cup this year with the full top-half of the field all facing off again.
Along with the winner Lucas Cranach, who could again prove the horse to beat on Saturday as they go to Flemington for just the second time and the 2000-metres for the first, other Australian Cup hopefuls coming via the Peter Young include Bart Cummings’ fellow German import Illo (2nd), Peter Moody’s new stable acquisition Manighar (3rd), Mike Moroney’s multiple Group 1 performer Glass Harmonium (4th) and Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed (5th).
Peter Young runner-up Illo will jump from barrier seven on Saturday with Kerrin McEvoy engaged, the Tertullian six-year-old third-up for the season having also run fourth to champion mare Black Caviar in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) last month.
The ‘Cups King’ Bart Cummings, 84, vies for his incredible 14th Australian Cup victory this year, his most recent triumph in the Flemington feature being with Sirmione in 2008, Illo one of two chances for the maestro along with Precedence.
Drawn in barrier five with Michael Rodd booked for the ride, Zabeel six-year-old Precedence is likely to be a double-figure outsider in the Australian Cup betting markets having failed to finish better than fifth in the last year.
Meanwhile connections of Southern Speed hope the Morphettville-based four-year-old has what it takes to bounce back from her Peter Young fourth and hold off the onslaught of imports to win the Australian Cup for Australia.
“I know the imports are all the rage, but this mare is tough and she is in this race up to her ears,” co-trainer Leon Macdonald said.
“I am more than happy to fly the flag for Australia and it would be great to win the Australian Cup, on this Australia Day weekend, with a mare.
“I know it is a tough race for a mare to win, but I couldn’t be happier with the way she is working and I’m certainly not conceding the race to the imports.
“I think she will be making her presence felt over the extra 200m and she won’t be giving these blokes a start like last time.”
If successful Southern Speed will become just the fourth mare in history to take out the race joining former Australian Cup winning females Let’s Elope (1992), Dane Ripper (1998) and the brilliant Makybe Diva (2002)
Completing the 2012 Australian Cup final field is then Neville Parnham’s WA raider Playing God in barrier two and the popular Lloyd Williams-owned grey Efficient in barrier four.
Saturday could turn out to be Efficient’s swansong race, the 2007 Melbourne Cup winner a rising nine-year-old that has failed to finish better than sixth in their six runs back after a two year stint on the sidelines.
“He’s OK at the moment and probably he’s the best he’s been for three years, so if he doesn’t run well in the Australian Cup…then he might be looking for a nice, green paddock,” Williams said.
“But if he can run particularly well then we might look at a mile-and-a-half (2400m) race for him, as he’d be looking for that distance after Saturday.
“So we’ve got to cross our fingers.”
Check out the full Australian Cup field, barriers and jockeys in the table below.
Newly released odds are due to open at bookmaker.com.au shortly.
Home to the groundbreaking Quickbet feature, bookmaker.com.au provide punters with not only the best odds but the quickest way to get your bets down.
2012 Dubai Australian Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 7 – 4:00pm – 10/03/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||66X10X141X||AMERICAIN (USA)||David Hayes||Steven Arnold||9||59kg||117|
|2||91X0860X90||EFFICIENT (NZ)||Robert Hickmott||Craig Newitt||4||59kg||112|
|3||4536001X34||PLAYING GOD||Neville Parnham||Steven Parnham||2||59kg||108|
|4||2X242010X4||GLASS HARMONIUM (IRE)||Michael Moroney||Damien Oliver||8||59kg||115|
|5||3484452X13||MANIGHAR (FR)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||6||59kg||110|
|6||X670090X87||PRECEDENCE (NZ)||Bart Cummings||Michael Rodd||5||59kg||107|
|7||X4215X53X1||LUCAS CRANACH (GER)||Anthony Freedman||Nash Rawiller||1||59kg||112|
|8||1421X30X42||ILLO (GER)||Bart Cummings||Kerrin McEvoy||7||59kg||108|
|9||042414X125||SOUTHERN SPEED||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Craig Williams||3||57kg||112|