A capacity field of 14 runners plus three emergencies has accepted for the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m), which is running this Saturday.
With a ballot exemption for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) during the spring awarded to the winner of the Mornington Cup plus a total of $350,000 in prize money on offer, it’s not hard to see why so many talented stayers are targeting the race.
Headlining the field are Akzar and Entirely Platinum, who will start in neighbouring gates midfield. The Darren Weir-trained Akzar enjoyed a minor placing in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) on February 28 before finishing two and three-quarter lengths off winner Spillway in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on March 14.
Akzar will start from barrier 11 with Brad Rawiller to ride while Team Hawkes’ Entirely Platinum will be one gate in with Dwayne Dunn as jockey. Both horses will carry the topweight of 59kg and could come in two gates if the emergencies fail to make the field.
Five-year-old Entirely Platinum was runner-up in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) on February 14 and has finished just shy of the placings in both the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) and Australian Cup. The gelding enjoyed a second placing in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) back in September.
Weir will also saddle Gotta Take Care in the 2015 Mornington Cup, who will jump from barrier 12 with Michelle Payne.
Archie Alexander and Peter Moody could also deliver dual-pronged attacks on the race after accepting with two of their stable stars each.
Alexander will saddle Renew and also has third emergency Martinvast. Five-year-old gelding Renew failed to make anything of his first two Australian starts back in the spring, failing to earn a place in the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) field, but managed to win the Listed Sandown Cup over two miles on November 15.
Following an 11 week spell, Renew resumed in the Doriemus Handicap (2000m) on January 31 but finished dead-last followed by an unplaced run in the Listed Torney Night Cup (2500m) on February 20. The gelding did earn himself a minor placing in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) on March 9, finishing just half a length off winner Tanby.
Renew has drawn barrier 13 with Chris Symons to ride but could come into starting gate 11. One gate out will be Moody’s confirmed runner Wish Come True while first emergency Vatuvei has drawn the outside gate.
Wish Come True has finished runner-up in his past two starts – the Listed Kilmore Cup (1600m) and Yarra Valley Cup (1950m) – both of which the gelding missed out on by less than a quarter of a length.
David Hayes & Tom Dabernig’s Extra Zero is nominated for the 2015 Mornington Cup but could be scratched in favour of the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill. The eight-year-old was last seen finishing just a millimetre behind stablemate Spillway in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) on March 14.
Should he run in the Mornington Cup, Extra Zero will enjoy a jump from barrier two with Michael Walker to ride.
Other horses set to run in Saturday’s race include Index Linked, who beat Extra Zero and Wish Come True his last two times out, Sandown Cup runner-up Like A Carousel, Group 3 Launceston Cup (2400m) winner Genuine Lad, and Tony McEvoy’s Big Memory, who will have to overcome a wide start from barrier 16.
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2015 Mornington Cup Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp Rating|
|1||145×525537||AKZAR (IRE)||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||11||59kg||103|
|2||4x1828x246||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||10||59kg||103|
|3||281023×430||BIG MEMORY (FR)||Tony McEvoy||Mark Zahra||16||58.5kg||102|
|4||2322122822||EXTRA ZERO||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||2||58.5kg||102|
|5||121×898211||INDEX LINKED (GB)||Chris Waller||Robbie Fradd||1||58.5kg||102|
|6||211x18x000||SONNTAG||Henry Dwyer||Chad Schofield||4||57.5kg||100|
|7||135x4442x0||EPINGLE (NZ)||Michael Kent||TBA||9||56.5kg||102|
|8||1131124×78||GOTTA TAKE CARE||Darren Weir||Ms Michelle Payne||12||56.5kg||98|
|9||5378×43232||BANCA MO||Scott Brunton||Dean Holland||15||56kg||97|
|10||630021×063||RENEW (IRE)||Archie Alexander||Chris Symons||13||56kg||97|
|11||2x43054x22||WISH COME TRUE (IRE)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||14||56kg||97|
|12||70x51362x8||LIKE A CAROUSEL||Ken Keys||Ryan Maloney||6||55.5kg||96|
|13||x333322211||GENUINE LAD||Bill Ryan||Ben Melham||5||55kg||95|
|14||4x494x2631||GAMBLIN’ GURU||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Patrick Moloney (a)||8||54kg||92|
|15e||87x9523x05||VATUVEI||Peter G Moody||TBA||17||54kg||87|
|16e||210321×071||DON DOREMO (NZ)||Robbie Laing||Vlad Duric||7||54kg||86|
|17e||7362535342||MARTINVAST (IRE)||Archie Alexander||Ms Michelle Payne||3||54kg||81|