Darren Weir’s veteran galloper Akzar looks the one to beat in Thursday’s Warrnambool Cup 2014, the rising eight-year-old shooting for their fourth win of the year.
In flying form the Selkirk gelding is topping the early markets for this week’s $200,000 Listed Sungold Milk Warrnambool Cup (2350m) despite having come up with the outside draw.
A capacity field of 16 starters plus four emergencies has been accepted for the Warrnambool major, favourite Akzar to jump from the widest barrier with Brad Rawiller in the saddle.
Set to carry 57kg they go up three kilos from the weight they had on their back when second last time out to Our Voodoo Prince in the Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) when blocked for a run at Caulfield on April 19.
Before that they were a second at Flemington on the back of three straight wins.
They get a chance to return to the winners’ stall again here and atone for their failed run in last year’s Warrambool Cup when a distant 13th to Banco Mo 12 months ago.
The David & Scott Brunton-trained reigning Warrnambool Cup winner Banco Mo meanwhile is back to defend their title as the 59.5kg top-weight on Thursday.
A now six-year-old Tough Speed gelding, Banco Mo carried 58kg to a big five length win over Muirfield in last year’s race.
This time they’ve got the bigger weight and also a disappointing last start seventh after over racing in the Easter Cup in the lead-up.
They’re still one of the single figure fancies in the Warrnambool Cup odds however and won’t be without their admirers as they go back up in distance.
Last year’s Warrnambool Cup third placegetter Shiny Buttons is also in the mix again this year, a stable mate of the favourite Akzar.
Drawn in gate 13, into nine if all the emergencies come out, the Reset seven-year-old was last seen running second in a 2000m handicap out at Donald.
The next best in betting behind Akzar meanwhile are Westsouthwest and first emergency St Jean.
The Robert Smerdon-trained Westsouthwest is a last start winner having beaten home Beilveau over the mile and a half at Caulfield on April 12 with 54kg which they carry again here.
St Jean meanwhile needs an early scratching to earn a start, but the bookies are taking no chances with the Aaron Purcell-trained local stallion.
Purcell has also accepted for his consistent six-year-old Haylaman who won at Cranbourne two back before their second to Gottino, another runner backing up in Thursday’s clash, in the Terang Cup.
Other notable hopes then include Reset four-year-old Shoreham coming off an Easter Cup fifth, the Peter Gelagotis-trained son of Fastnet Rock Havasstan and Wez Hunter’s Bendigo Golden Mile runner-up Bel Thor.
See below for the complete Warrnambool Cup 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2014 Warrnambool Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Warrnambool Race 8 – 3:12pm (AEST) – 01/05/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||342111×537||BANCA MO||David & Scott Brunton||Ben Knobel||14||59.5kg||104|
|2||x16462x755||SHOREHAM||Saab Hasan||Chris Symons||15||57.5kg||100|
|3||0x60011122||AKZAR (IRE)||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||20||57kg||99|
|4||6783875×76||MOUDRE||Ciaron Maher||Steven Arnold||12||56.5kg||98|
|5||51340×2650||MOURINHO||Peter Gelagotis||Anthony Darmanin||19||56kg||97|
|6||9618×07208||HVASSTAN||Peter Gelagotis||Damien Oliver||10||55.5kg||96|
|7||6462120591||GOTTINO (NZ)||Dan O’Sullivan||Dean Yendall||18||54kg||93|
|8||4213×69209||BEL THOR||Wez Hunter||Ms Jackie Beriman (a), (late alt)||3||54kg||92|
|9||255x13x0x3||FIELDMASTER (NZ)||Patrick Payne||Ms Michelle Payne||1||54kg||90|
|10||P7x07987x9||VATUVEI||Peter G Moody||Ms Linda Meech||9||54kg||90|
|11||33217×5402||SHINY BUTTONS||Darren Weir||–||13||54kg||89|
|12||32201×9031||WESTSOUTHWEST (NZ)||Robert Smerdon||Jack Hill||8||54kg||86|
|13||140254×312||HAYLAMAN (IRE)||Aaron Purcell||Ryan Maloney||6||54kg||82|
|14||0710038×97||SUPREMACY (NZ)||Russell Cameron||Dean Holland||17||54kg||82|
|15||6224613×04||PICTURE EDITOR (GB)||Michael Moroney||Darren Gauci||16||54kg||81|
|16||4114252625||MAGNAPAL||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||Ms Nikita Beriman||4||54kg||78|
|17e||316342×412||ST JEAN (IRE)||Aaron Purcell||Stephen Baster||2||54kg||76|
|19e||51364820×8||CAROUN (IRE)||Patrick F Ryan||Ms Jamie Kah (a)||7||54kg||73|
|20e||7776461827||LUCKZAT (NZ)||Wayne Walters||–||11||54kg||67|