Darren Weir’s veteran stayer Hurdy Gurdy Man is the top-rated and weighted of 18 gallopers nominated for the major support race at Flemington on Thursday, the Bagot Handicap 2015.
The distance feature of New Year’s Day in Melbourne, this summer’s $150,000 Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) is shaping up as a top showdown in which Street Cry seven-year-old Hurdy Gurdy Man will carry the 60kg top weight.
He hasn’t won a race since the Hamilton Cup over 2200m back in October last year but has been a competitive force in both country and city staying features since then.
Last spring – summer campaign he was third behind Sydney Cup champion The Offer in the Listed Ballarat Cup, ran second in the Werribee Cup and then finished second behind Outback Joe in last season’s Bagot Handicap.
There he jumped from barrier 12 of 13 with 60kg, the same weight he has for this week.
He comes via a similar lead-up too having run fourth in the Ballarat Cup (2200m) on November 22 then a close third when under half a length off the winner Cadillac Mountain in the Listed Spicer Thoroughbreds Handicap (2635m) at Werribee on December 14.
Winner of that race, the Peter Moody-trained Cadillac Mountain, is also nominated to back-up in the Bagot Handicap.
Moody’s progressive Reset four-year-old comes off back-to-back Werribee wins including in the Classic from a fortnight ago where he carried the 54kg minimum to a narrow nose win over Averau.
On Thursday he must handle an extra two kilo impost however going up to 56kg, while the Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison Averau remains on 54kg for the rematch.
Stratum mare Averau has been in flying form this season winning three of her past four starts leading up to the Werribee Classic including back-to-back wins over 2500m at Moonee Valley.
She gets a nice light weight again for the Bagot Handicap and is likely to come close again as she goes up to the 2800m for the first time.
Following Hurdy Gurdy Man in the Bagot Handicap weights meanwhile is the Paul Jones-trained Mujadale on 59kg, winner of the Ararat Cup – Ballarat Cup double this spring.
His latest run was also in the Werribee Classic behind Cadillac Mountain when crossing just one and a half lengths away fifth with the same weight he’s allocated for the first of January.
The next heaviest weighted are then Crafty Cruiser and Werribee Classic fourth past the post Tanby on 58.5kg each.
Other in-form gallopers in the mix include Danny O’Brien’s flying Encosta De Lago four-year-old De Little Engine after his fourth on the trot having most recently won over 2540m here at Flemington on December 20, the OTI-owned import Martinvast for Ballarat’s Archie Alexander, Halayr Jet out to break a succession of second place efforts at home in Adelaide and Falkirk mare Falamonte for Robbie Laing.
See below for the full Bagot Handicap 2014 nominations and weights, the field to be published right here at Races.com.au as soon as it is released.
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2015 Bagot Handicap Nominations & Weights
Flemington Racecourse – 01/01/2015
|1||HURDY GURDY MAN||Darren Weir||1||60kg||95|
|2||MUJADALE||Paul A Jones||2||59kg||93|
|3||CRAFTY CRUISER||Bryce Stanaway||3||58.5kg||92|
|5||MOBACO (FR)||Darren Weir||5||57kg||89|
|7||CADILLAC MOUNTAIN||Peter G Moody||7||56kg||87|
|8||DE LITTLE ENGINE||Danny O’Brien||8||54.5kg||84|
|9||AVERAU||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||9||54kg||82|
|10||YOU THINK SO (NZ)||Michael Kent||10||54kg||80|
|11||HALAYR JET||Grant Young||11||54kg||79|
|13||GREAT LANE||Symon Wilde||13||54kg||75|
|14||MARTINVAST (IRE)||Archie Alexander||14||54kg||72|
|15||TANAH LOT (NZ)||Chris Hyland||15||54kg||71|
|16||FALAMONTE (NZ)||Robbie Laing||16||54kg||66|
|18||DOMINANT MANNER||Mick Sell||18||54kg||62|