Ciaron Maher’s Group 1 performing stayer Mr O’Ceirin has opened short priced favourite to win Saturday’s 2014 Caloundra Cup at the Sunshine Coast.
Of the 12 gallopers set to face off in this year’s $175,000 Listed Ross Maclean Fellowship Caloundra Cup (2400m) it is Victorian visitor Mr O’Ceirin the bookies have installed as the early $2.10 favourite.
The Postponed six-year-old heads the Caloundra Cup field and weights from barrier one with 59kg, and is tipped to score an easy win despite the kilos.
They haven’t won a race since the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last September but have been far from disgraced this time in racing against some of the season’s best.
After a seventh in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) where they were closed in on from the outside gate, Mr O’Ceirin ran an improved second in the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) and then fifth last time out in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).
They’re over the mile and a half again here but do go up from 57kg to 59kg.
Improvement though is still possible after their luckless Brisbane Cup effort when caught wide and tiered late having done so much early work.
Two of their 11 rivals are also under double figures in the Caloundra Cup odds with Brave Ali and Ironstein both at $5 to win.
Drawn in barrier three with long distance specialist Jim Byrne in the saddle, seven-year-old O’Reilly gelding Brave Ali is from the in-form, Group 1 winning Brisbane stables of Tony Gollan.
They’ve been in red hot form this season putting together a string of races before stepping up to Group 3 company on May 10 when third to Pretty Pins in the Chairman’s Handicap (2000m).
They were back in the winners’ stall next race however when on June 14 they beat them home in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) carrying half a kilo more than their 56kg allocation for Saturday.
Ironstein then is the notable Caloundra Cup market mover shortening in the markets after confirmation they would make the trip to Corbould Park on the weekend.
The Zabeel eight-year-old, who is set to have their final career run in next month’s Grafton Cup, was also accepted for the $100,000 Listed Winter Cup (2400m) in Sydney.
They’ve been scratched from the field there however and so money is coming for Gerald Ryan’s veteran stayer, coming via an Ipswich Cup fourth, to improve on Saturday.
The weights suit them well too as they drop from 58kg in the Ipswich Cup to 55.5kg on the weekend.
Three other hopes are then under $20 including Mark Ashby’s Sebring three-year-old Bring Back ($11), a winner up to 2000m coming via a credible sixth to Sonntag in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m)
The next best in betting are then reigning Caloundra Cup winner Zennista out to improve on her eighth in the Brisbane Cup and the local Len Treloar-trained mare Catalonia who was sixth in the Ipswich Cup at $17 each.
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