Next Wednesday, October 24, one of the most crucial 2012 Melbourne Cup lead-up races will take place in Victoria with the $300,000 Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m), nominations for which are now out.
This year the 2012 Geelong Cup has attracted 23 early entries, all but two of which are also still in the running for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November.
Punters will be keenly following the Geelong Cup results this year as for the past two years the Geelong Cup winner has gone on to also win the famous Melbourne Cup with Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011), both champions prepared in France.
This year a third French-trained stayer will look to make it three in a row for the frog eaters with Americain’s in-form stablemate Shahwardi.
The Alain de Royer Dupre-trained Lando gelding debuted down under, having previously run third to Joshua Tree in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) back home in France, with a smashing last-to-first victory in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) last Saturday at Caulfield.
That victory earned the seven-year-old a free run in this Saturday’s $2.65 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) but connections decided to save Shahwardi for the Geelong Cup and then the Melbourne Cup.
Shahwardi is currently the shortest-priced of the Geelong Cup nominations in the Melbourne Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au paying $16 to win the world’s richest handicap.
While Shahwardi opted not to go to the Caulfield Cup there are currently seven Geelong Cup entries accepted for this Saturday’s Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival major, most notably the Luca Cumani-trained My Quest For Peace.
A winner of five of their 10 career starts to date the Galileo stallion won their past two runs back in Britain and is a mile and a half specialist making the Geelong Cup an ideal event for the Australian debut.
An $11 chance in the Caulfield Cup betting markets, My Quest For Peace won’t continue onto the Melbourne Cup.
Also in the starting line-up in the Caulfield Cup are then Ciaron Maher’s seven-year-old Moudre ($51) out to bounce back after finishing dead last in the Turnbull Stakes last time out, and the Hawkes-trained eight-year-old Aussie born and bred Sydney Cup winner Niwot ($34).
While backing up in the Geelong Cup is unlikely for this Caulfield Cup trio, the four Caulfield Cup emergencies have also all been nominated for Wednesday’s showdown with Michael Moroney’s Group 1 performer Sabrage (1st), John Gosden’s British raider Gatewood (2nd), another Cumani-trained horse Ibicenco (3rd) and the David Hayes-trained Fictional Account (4th) who ran a distant 10th to Caulfield Cup favourite Glencadam Gold in The Metropolitan last start.
In regards to Gatewood, who is still rated an $11 Caulfield Cup chance, connections are confident that they are firing on all cylinders and are ready to win next start.
“It would have been preferable (to run in the Caulfield Cup), but I don’t think he will get a run,” OTI Racing’s Simon O’Donnell said yesterday.
“We will head down to Geelong. We have had some success there and we hope we have some more.
“John Gosden will have him ready to perform well in the Geelong Cup.
“He was a very nice progressive stayer early in his season. He won three on end in better grades. His last few runs were in a good standard of racing, and now here we are trying to get our way into the Melbourne Cup.”
Following Shahwardi in the Melbourne Cup betting markets meanwhile are fellow Geelong Cup hopes:
- Brigantin ($17) – Another French galloper coming off some imposing form back home including their second in the Prix Kergorlay over 3000m last start, may not fire over the 2400m but if they make the Melbourne Cup field are a genuine chance
- Maluckyday ($21) – 2010 Melbourne Cup runner-up on the comeback path having run second in The Bart Cummings last start, missed out on a Caulfield Cup start but has eyes on Melbourne Cup prize still
- Tac De Boistron ($18) – Yet another French horse in the mix for the spring cups this season, Australian-owned by ATB, won the Group 2 Prix Maurice De Nieuil (2800m) in July, 2400m may be a little short and will improve after their first-up run
- Mourayan ($26) – Robert Hickmott-trained seven-year-old coming off some good form this time in including their last start win in the Group 3 Craven Plate in Sydney
Other notable Geelong Cup 2012 nominees include The Bart Cummings winner Tanby, Peter Moody’s in-form Redoute’s Choice mare Chateau Margaux, The Bart Cummings third placegetter Dame Claire, Herbert Power Stakes third placegetter Exceptionally and Excluded who ran second in the Herbert Power.
See below for the complete 2012 Centrebet Geelong Cup nominations, the final field to be announced on Monday.
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2012 Geelong Cup Nominations
Geelong – 24/10/2012
|1||BACK IN BLACK (NZ)||John Steffert||89|
|2||BRIGANTIN (USA)||Andre Fabre||105|
|3||CHATEAU MARGAUX||Peter G Moody||93|
|4||DAME CLAIRE (NZ)||Pat Carey||95|
|5||EXCEPTIONALLY (NZ)||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||98|
|6||EXCLUDED (NZ)||Robert Hickmott||98|
|7||FICTIONAL ACCOUNT (IRE)||David Hayes||–|
|8||GATEWOOD (GB)||John Gosden||101|
|9||IBICENCO (GER)||Luca Cumani||100|
|10||MALUCKYDAY (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||108|
|11||MIDAS TOUCH (GB)||Robert Hickmott||105|
|13||MOURAYAN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||108|
|14||MY QUEST FOR PEACE (IRE)||Luca Cumani||107|
|15||NIWOT||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||108|
|16||PRAIRIE STAR (FR)||Danny O’Brien||104|
|18||SHAHWARDI (FR)||Alain de Royer Dupre||105|
|19||TAC DE BOISTRON (FR)||Michael Kent||106|
|21||UNUSUAL SUSPECT (USA)||Michael Kent||103|
|22||VERDANT (GB)||Robert Smerdon||81|
|23||WINCHESTER (USA)||John Sadler||111|