Darren Weir’s veteran and equal top weight Akzar has opened top fancy to take out Saturday’s Mornington Cup 2015 in Victoria this weekend.
While the major Melbourne racing action takes place under the lights at Moonee Valley on Friday night with the William Reid Stakes stealing the show, punters also have plenty to get excited about the following day at Mornington Racecourse.
The meeting’s bumper 10-race program is headlined by the marquee race, the lucrative $350,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) taking centre stage as Race 9 at 5:30pm (AEDT).
It’s a capacity line-up for the state’s richest provincial staying showdown with 14 confirmed starters plus three emergencies lying in wait.
Sitting top of the field with the number one saddlecloth is Weir’s eight-year-old Selkirk gelding Akzar who is allocated the 59kg top weight along with the Team Hawkes-trained Entirely Platinum – the duo drawn in barriers 11 and 10 respectively.
Akzar will come into nine if the three emergencies fail to gain a start, Brad Rawiller booked for the ride once again.
Rawiller has ridden the galloper for his four most recent runs including a brave third when under a length off the winner Mourinho in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 28.
Last time out the duo ran in elite level company at Flemington in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) in mid-March but could only manage to run two and three-quarter lengths off Spillway in the feature.
He is up in distance and down in class this weekend though and the bookies are taking no chances with Akzar leading the latest Mornington Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au at a current quote of $4.80.
The next best in betting is then a trio of $6.50 hopes occupying the second line of Mornington Cup betting with the aforementioned equal top weight Entirely Platinum, Extra Zero and Index Linked hard to separate.
Dwayne Dunn sticks with his regular mount, Pentire five-year-old Entirely Platinum who was in ace form last month running second to Dissident in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) and then fourth to Suavito in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) both held at Caulfield.
He was also far from disgraced in the Australian Cup when two and a half lengths away sixth, an effort he’s tipped to improve on here in his Mornington debut.
In-form duo Extra Zero and Index Linked meanwhile are also heavily weighted both carrying 58.5kg but drawn well in barriers two and one respectively.
The David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Danzero eight-year-old Extra Zero is another true veteran who lines up for his incredible 74th career start here.
He is racing in excellent form as always however having run second in four of his past five starts.
A horse that has trouble actually winning a race with just five victories on his record, Extra Zero was a nose off Spillway as a $71 roughie in the Australian Cup so is capable of big things.
He did it from barrier 16 that day and the better barrier as well as a drop back in the weights could make him the value bet in the Mornington Cup field and markets.
Chris Waller meanwhile prepares Sydney raider Index Linked, the seven-year-old import having beaten Extra Zero two back when the duo ran the quinella in the Listed Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m).
He then won again over 1950m on March 15 carrying a hefty 60kg to victory with Glen Boss in the saddle for the Yarra Valley Cup last start, Boss replaced by Robbie Fradd on Saturday.
Rounding out the single-figure hopes at $9 is then the Robbie Laing-trained Don Doremo, the progressive four-year-old after his fifth win at start number 12 but right up in distance after a Benchmark 90 win over 2040m at Moonee Valley on March 20.
The next best in betting is then the always-honest Tony McEvoy-trained Big Memory ($11) drawn in barrier 16 and also carting 58.5kg with Mark Zahra booked for the ride, and the early market mover and recent Launceston Cup winner Genuine Lad ($11) after his third win on the trot over from Tasmanian.
Also worth a look at $12 is the Peter Moody-trained Yarra Valley Cup runner-up Wish Come True as well as $15 chance Like A Carousel out to improve on a first-up eighth in the Mornington Cup Prelude last time out.
Check out the latest Mornington Cup 2015 betting odds below, prices open online now at the country’s premier online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au who will match your first deposit up to $250 this weekend when you quote the exclusive code BETBONUS!