This Sunday Victoria will host its latest Spring Cups clash with the Cranbourne Cup 2014 set to take place, the field for the black type showdown now out.
Following the release of 27 nominations earlier in the week there are now 15 final acceptors set to face off in this year’s $200,000 Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m).
Heading the Cranbourne Cup weights with 59.5kg is the Ciaron Maher-trained Mr O’Ceirin drawn in gate three with Craig Williams to ride.
The Postponed seven-year-old was last seen running a close fourth when beaten only 1.25 lengths by 2014 Cox Plate-bound The Cleaner in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley on September 26.
Nominated for the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) in November, Mr O’Ceirin hasn’t won a race since the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) in September last year and races at Cranbourne for the first time since September of 2011.
The next heaviest weighted with 59kg is then last year’s third palcegetter Mourinho for Peter Gelogotis who has his second look at the track after carrying the same weight for his minor place behind Pakal and Sertorius 12 months ago.
Another seven-year-old the Oratorio gelding has been in top form this time in with three top three runs for the spring already.
First-up he won at Moonee Valley before returning to the track to finish second behind The Cleaner in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) on September 6.
Last time out Mourinho was third behind the same horse in the JRA Cup and on Sunday shoots for his fourth win from 10 starts over the distance.
Also high up the ratings and weights is the Darren Weir-trained Perth Cup winner Black Tycoon (58.5kg) looking to atone for two unplaced runs this time in.
The veteran Blackfriars nine-year-old has been well beaten in both his resuming runs, including a distant 13th when 17 lengths off the winner over 1700m at Caulfield on September 28.
Black Tycoon however was runner-up to Outback Joe in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) back in March and is a genuine staying type that will appreciate the extra metres on Sunday.
Weir has also accepted for the former Lloyd Williams-owned At First Sight to be ridden by Brad Rawiller and Count Encosta (56.5kg) in barrier two with Dean Yendall to ride on the 54kg minimum.
Tenth to French raider Dunaden in the 2011 Melbourne Cup, the imported Galileo gelding spent nearly three years away from racing before returning at Moonee Valley this September gone trying to rejuvenate his career.
Count Encosta meanwhile sees Cranbourne for the first time here and comes off a fifth over the distance in a Benchmark 90 at Caulfield a fortnight ago.
The top rated mare in the race meanwhile is the Michael Kent-trained Epingle drawn out wide in barrier 13 with Luke Nolen to ride.
The New Zealand-bred Pins seven-year-old won the Hobart Cup – Launceston Cup double over 2400m in Tasmania back in February before two nice autumn Sydney runs including a fifth behind current 2014 Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m).
She’s had the one run back this season when a respectable fourth behind Dear Demi in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) on September 26 and will appreciate a step up in distance on Sunday.
Also coming off nice lead-up runs are the likes of Group 1 performer Le Roi who is two runs in with an excellent second-up record (3-2-0-0) to add to here, Auckland Cup third placegetter More Than Sacred now with Robert Smerdon, and Extra Zero coming off back-to-back thirds over 1400m and 1700m respectively.
Other notable hopes then include Darwin Cup winner Pretty Blonde for Kym Healy who has won four of nine starts over this distance and country cups specialist You Think So racing first-up here with apprentice Jake Bayliss in the saddle.
Local horseman Ken Keys meanwhile shoots for his third Cranbourne Cup victory this year saddling up First Course from barrier 14, the Snitzel six-year-old coming off a fourth over 1700m at Caulfield.
Keys will also on Saturday be vying for his maiden Group 1 win as a trainer saddling-up the flying favourite Rich Enuff in the $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
See below for the full Cranbourne Cup 2014 field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2014 Cranbourne Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Cranbourne Race 8 (4:36pm) – 12/10/2014
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||027259×564||MR O’CEIRIN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||Craig Williams||3||59.5kg||104|
|2||x26506x123||MOURINHO||Peter Gelagotis||Craig Newitt||10||59kg||103|
|3||1741472×00||BLACK TYCOON||Darren Weir||Ben Melham||8||58.5kg||102|
|4||42631135×4||EPINGLE (NZ)||Michael Kent||Luke Nolen||13||57kg||103|
|5||x38x3196x5||LE ROI (GER)||Tony McEvoy||Damien Oliver||9||57kg||99|
|6||45x06220x8||AT FIRST SIGHT (IRE)||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||5||56.5kg||98|
|7||02114873×4||MORE THAN SACRED||Robert Smerdon||Glen Boss||11||54kg||95|
|8||52104x455x||YOU THINK SO (NZ)||Michael Kent||Jake Bayliss (a)||7||54kg||93|
|9||5532230×33||EXTRA ZERO||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Stephen Baster||6||54kg||91|
|10||x87116x400||OMINOUS (GB)||Nigel Blackiston||Dwayne Dunn||15||54kg||90|
|11||4231x16x02||ALI VITAL (NZ)||Robbie Laing||Darren Gauci||4||54kg||87|
|12||76×1122125||COUNT ENCOSTA||Darren Weir||Dean Yendall||2||54kg||84|
|13||5090×23074||FIRST COURSE||Ken Keys||Ms Jackie Beriman (a)||14||54kg||80|
|14||51111×0410||PRETTY BLONDE||Kym Healy||Justin Potter||12||54kg||80|
|15||0x76501070||ROWLAND||Robbie Laing||Ms Katelyn Mallyon (a)||1||54kg||76|