Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
First Acceptances were taken on Tuesday afternoon for a number of key races during the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, including the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).
Running at Flemington Racecourse on March 14, the Australian Cup is a key race for the staying types. When nominations for the $1 million race closed on January 27 there were 69 potential runners for the Cup, however after first acceptances were taken this afternoon that number has nearly halved to 37.
Former German raider Protectionist continues to lead the race after dominating the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) during the spring on just his second run in Australia. The five-year-old horse has yet to have his first start under the care of new trainer Kris Lees but that could all change this weekend as Protectionist is one of 16 horses nominated for the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m), running at Caulfield.
Three-time Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux is gearing up for his first autumn campaign in Australia, entering the Werribee quarantine centre last week, and remains in contention for the 2015 Australian Cup but third placer Who Shot Thebarman has bowled out in favour of the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) the following month.
Chris Waller’s bumper 11 Australian Cup nominations has nearly halved to six with Bagman, Beaten Up, Foreteller, Hawkspur, He’s Your Man, and Weary remaining in the draw. His contingent have all had at least one run since the nominations were announced last month but only Weary did anything worth mentioning.
The five-year-old grey won the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m) against three of his stable mates before finishing third in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) on February 14, a race all other Waller runners failed to place in.
Paul Beshara’s Happy Trails won the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) over the track and distance of the Australian Cup at the end of spring but finished just short of the placings on resumption in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) two weeks ago.
The seven-year-old gelding is set to have one more run before March 14 in the Peter Young Stakes this Saturday. Despite working harder than desired at trackwork this morning, Beshara is confident Happy Trails can finish somewhere in the first three.
“He surprised the hell out of me in the Underwood last year and I’m hoping he can go one better on Saturday,” Beshara told TVN.
“He’s done a treat since, I’m really happy with him.”
Other top middle-distance runners and stayers that feature in the 2015 Australian Cup first acceptances include Apollo Stakes winner Contributer, promising Perth-based gelding Disposition, who finished runner-up in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) last Saturday on his first trip out east, CF Orr Stakes second and third Entirely Platinum and Mourinho, David Hayes & Tom Dabernig’s Jacquinot Bay, who just missed out on victory in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) after Smokin’ Joey delivered a strong finish to out bob him on the line, and cult favourite The Cleaner.
Check out the full list of first acceptances for the Australian Cup below.
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2015 Australian Cup First Acceptances
|1||AKZAR (IRE)||Darren Weir|
|2||AU REVOIR (IRE)||Peter G Moody|
|4||BEATEN UP (GB)||Chris Waller|
|5||BIG MEMORY (FR)||Tony McEvoy|
|6||BRING SOMETHING||Ken Keys|
|8||CONTRIBUTER (IRE)||John O’Shea|
|10||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes|
|12||EXTRA ZERO||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|13||FIREHOUSE ROCK||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|14||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller|
|15||GREATWOOD (GB)||Gai Waterhouse|
|16||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara|
|17||HARTNELL (GB)||John O’Shea|
|19||HE’S YOUR MAN (FR)||Chris Waller|
|20||HONG KONG CAPTAIN||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|21||JACQUINOT BAY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|22||LIDARI (FR)||Peter G Moody|
|26||PETROLOGY||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|27||PROTECTIONIST (GER)||Kris Lees|
|28||PUCCINI (NZ)||Peter & Jacob McKay|
|29||REAL LOVE||Adam Durrant|
|30||RED CADEAUX (GB)||Ed Dunlop|
|32||SPILLWAY (GB)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|33||STAR ROLLING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison|
|34||STRATUM STAR||Darren Weir|
|36||THE CLEANER||Mick Burles|
|37||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller|
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