Chris Waller’s dual Group 1 runner-up Opinion will take his latest step towards a possible Melbourne Cup run next month when on Saturday he jumps favourite in the 2014 Moonee Valley Gold Cup.
The key support race on a bumper nine-event program for Cox Plate Day in Melbourne, this year’s $250,000 Group 2 Racing.com Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) field features 10 hopeful stayers.
Heading the Moonee Valley Gold Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $3 to win and break a drought extending back to March is Oasis Dream five-year-old Opinion.
The five-year-old was runner-up behind one-time Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick during the autumn and after some initially disappointing form this time in, enjoyed a step up in distance again last time out.
Racing at Randwick again on October 4 from a wide barrier 14 (of 16) draw, the same barrier he jumped from in the Sydney Cup, Opinion was beaten only half a length by the fellow Waller-trained Junoob in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m).
The gutsy Opinion was blocked for a run near the turn and while jockey Tye Angland lodged a protest, his second place finish stood.
While Junoob backed up with a seventh behind Japan’s Admire Rakti in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) last Saturday, Waller saved Opinion for this easier assignment.
The dour type however is still also in the mix for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 4 and currently sits 27th on the order of entry with 53.5kg.
He pays $41 in the Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au and will firm in those futures markets should he salute for the punters this weekend.
Occupying the second line of betting is then the James & Bart Cummings-trained veteran Precedence, the nine-year-old paying $5 to become a triple Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner.
Precedence first won the race in 2010 and also won again 12 months ago, the son of Zabeel jumping from barrier two with Craig Williams aboard for his 1.5 length effort over Shoreham.
This year Glen Boss has the ride from gate four, Precedence coming off a close fifth behind Cox Plate fancy The Cleaner in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) and eyeing a Melbourne Cup run on the first Tuesday of next month.
Also Melbourne Cup-bound and seeking a penalty with a Moonee Valley Gold Cup win is Andre Fabre’s French raider Au Revoir who pays $5.50 at Ladbrokes.com.au to win his maiden run outside of France.
Jumping from barrier six with top Aussie hoop Damien Oliver in the saddle the southern-hemisphere five-year-old is a $51 chance for the Melbourne Cup with OTI Racing confirming he would line up in the field if he makes the cut.
There are two other single figure hopes in the current Moonee Valley Gold Cup betting markets with Epingle ($7.50) and Prince Of Penzance ($8.50).
In gate three with Dwayne Dunn riding, the Michael Kent-trained Pins mare Epingle comes off back-to-back fourth place finishes this time in.
The seven-year-old’s first was behind Dear Demi in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) here at Moonee Valley and then on October 12 she was beaten only 1.55 lengths in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m).
She’s got winning form right up to 2400m however and won the Hobart Cup – Launceston Cup double in Tasmanian during the summer.
Prince OF Penzance then has the outside barrier 10 on Saturday, Darren Weir’s improver coming off a second over 2050m at Moe from October 16.
Also under $20 to win are then the Ciaron Maher-trained Mr O’Ceirin ($13) and Albonetti ($14), coming off a Herbert Power Stakes sixth, to be ridden by last year’s Cox Plate winning jockey Chad Schofield who has a top chance in Saturday’s feature race again with Sweynesse ($21).
See below for the full Moonee Valley Gold Cup 2014 odds, prices open online now at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $3 million Megpick promo this Cox Plate Day!
2014 Moonee Valley Gold Cup Betting