16 top-class middle-distance runners will tackle the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington Racecourse this Saturday, one of nine races in the full black-type race card.
Just three of the runners are offering single figure odds in the betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au, led by Happy Trails at $4.60. The Paul Beshara-trained gelding is also the market mover after his price shortened from $5.
Happy Trails is a Flemington specialist, winning all three of his Group One races at the track. He will enjoy a great start from barrier four with Damien Oliver, who is searching for back-to-back wins in the race after winning the 2014 edition with Fiorente.
The 2015 Australian Cup will also see the return of the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) quinella Protectionist and Red Cadeaux to the Flemington track.
Check out our top three betting tips for the race below. Don’t forget to take advantage of Ladbrokes.com.au special offer for the race – an extra 20% on your winnings when you bet against the Best Tote or SP + 20% market.
#3 Happy Trails ($4.60)
Paul Beshara’s seven-year-old gelding is both the favourite and market mover of the field thanks to his impressive record at Flemington. Happy Trails has won three of his eight starts at the track, all of which were Group One races. It began with the 2012 Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m), followed by the 2013 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), and most recently the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) back in November, which he fought on so well to win half a short head from He’s Your Man. Damien Oliver delivered the winning ride that day and will return to the saddle for the first time on Saturday. It will also be the return to Flemington for Happy Trails after the gelding’s first two starts this campaign came at Caulfield. He was last seen running second to Mourinho in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) on February 28.
#6 Mourinho ($10)
The Peter Gelagotis-trained gelding is offering punters great value with a win price of $10 or $3.30 to place. Mourinho has had a successful autumn campaign already, winning the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) first-up on January 24 followed by a minor placing in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) and most recently a win in the Peter Young Stakes on February 28., where he beat home the likes of Happy Trails and Protectionist. While the gelding has been successful running between 1200-1800m this season, he will enjoy a return to running over 2000 metres, a distance he’s recorded four wins and three placings from in his 11 attempts. The only thing working against him will be his tricky start from barrier 13.
#7 The Cleaner ($16)
Cult favourite The Cleaner returns to Flemington on Saturday for the first time since finishing third in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) on November 8. The Mick Burles-trained gelding will jump from barrier nine with Steven Arnold and has placed in four of his six starts over 2000 metres, as well as five of his seven starts at Flemington. The Cleaner enjoyed his most successful campaign during the spring, winning back-to-back Group races and stepping up to the highest level of racing for the first time. He resumed in the Listed George Adams Plate (1600m) in his hometown of Launceston on February 25 and although he led (like usual) for much of the race was unable to hold off winner Admiral.
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