This afternoon a wide-open field of quality stayers will square off in the 2013 Geelong Cup, a number of which are fighting for a shot at next month’s Melbourne Cup– the Races.com.au team’s tips on the classic listed below.
Over the years many gallopers have used the $300,000 Group 2 Geelong Cup (2400m) as a lead-up to the ‘race that stops a nation’ – the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
Recent horses to complete the double include Dunaden (2011), Americain (2010) and Media Puzzle (2002) – all internationals.
The international presence has been dropping off over the past couple of seasons however, the sole European-trained raider in this year’s Geelong Cup field being the Nicky Henderson-trained Forgotten Voice.
The veteran Danehill Dancer nine-year-old is favourite in Geelong Cup betting too at an easing price of $2.40, Hong Kong-based Aussie expat Brett Prebble booked for the ride.
They face just eight rivals this afternoon after the early withdrawal of fellow 58kg top-weight Tanby.
One thing opening the Geelong Cup up this year is the rain in Victoria, Geelong rated a Heavy (8) at 6:50am (AEST) this morning with 17.2mm of rain falling over the past 24 hours.
Forgotten Voice’s track rider Ryan O’Reilly, 19, remains confident that Prebble is on the right horse however despite the rain-affected track.
“He’s at his peak,” O’Reilly told the Daily Telegraph after the English stayer worked at Werribee on Tuesday.
“We’re not worried about the ground. I think soft ground in Australia is not the same as soft ground at home.
“He’ll be fine as long as it’s [not] a bog [track].”
Their biggest danger according to the Geelong Cup odds is then the Peter Moody-trained Ibicenco ($6) who is out to improve on their last start 12th in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) in Sydney.
While confident the six-year-old is a class horse, Moody believes the 2400m may be a little short and they could be looking for the two miles again after their win in the Sandown Cup over the 3200m last November when prepared by Luca Cumani.
“He probably needs the two miles but he will be amongst it as he’s been in good form,” Moody told AAP.
“I’m surprised there is only one international this year. The last few years have been good racing for them.”
So are the top two in betting the ones to lock into the Geelong Cup quinella today?
Or is there value in some longer priced chances such as known wet-tracker Moudre ($7.50) or seven-year-old Verdant ($8.50) who was sixth to Sea Moon in the Herbert Power last start?
#2 Forgotten Voice ($2.40)
They’re easing out a little in the markets, and while still short, we think the favourite can get the job done here. They’re nine but have been career best this year with back-to-back black type flat wins Europe during our winter. Their form back home is very good and the international form often stacks up in this race so we’re willing to bet it will again this year.
#4 Moudre ($7.50)
Big race specialist Craig Williams rides Ciaron Maher’s honest stayer who looks the one to beat if we only look at the track conditions. Has won two from three on Slow and from three Heavy starts has finished second twice so wet weather is in their favour in a bit way. First-up third in the Makybe Diva Stakes was a beauty but has been well beaten in their next three starts including the Herbert Power (8th) but on a softer track here should be competitive.
#6 Polish Knight ($10)
This Hawkes-trained five-year-old gets in with a good weight (54.5kg) and the barrier (nine into eight) will be a nice spot to start for the wet track and distance. Has had just one run on a Heavy ground, which they won at Ballarat back in March last year, have been hit and miss over their career but there’s some good form there including their 2012 ATC Derby second. Most recent run was an eighth in the Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington, Geelong track should suit though and fancy them to rise from their recent form.
Get behind our Geelong Cup selections online at Ladbrokes.com.au now for the best prices on today’s clash.
Ladbrokes.com.au are also offering an Australian exclusive with double the fixed win prices on the Caulfield Cup field this Saturday!
*All odds quoted are Fixed Win from Ladbrokes.com.au and subject to change