David Hayes & Tom Dabernig are gunning for back-to-back Australian Cup wins this season with their contingent for the Super Saturday clash led in 2016 by Criterion.
One of two elite level majors on the Flemington card on March 12 this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival along with the Newmarket Handicap that attracted 70 nominations, this year’s $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) drew 55 early entries.
Down from 69 last season, the Australian Cup nominations still boast plenty of depth with last year’s winning trainers Hayes & Dabernig leading the charge with 13 hopefuls.
Of those the top rated in futures Australian Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au installed as the early $7 co-favourite is Sebring stallion Criterion.
Last March Hayes & Dabernig won the Australian Cup with $12 shot Spillway (2015), which was Hayes’s third win in the feature following his earlier success as a sole trainer with Better Loosen up (1991) and Niconero (2009).
Now internationally-performed Criterion is well in the mix shooting for his maiden Flemington win.
During the spring the four-time Group 1 winner ran a stellar second to super mare Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) before his brave third behind upset winner Prince Of Penzance in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles.
Criterion then travelled to Sha Tin for his luckless ninth in the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup (2000m) and is tipped to return to better form racing back down under over the autumn.
Other exciting Australian Cup prospects for the stable in 2016 include Group 1 winning New Zealand filly Risque who is yet to race down under, Geelong Cup – Sandown Cup double winner Almoonqith and last year’s runner-up Extra Zero.
The other horse nominated for another Australian Cup shot after a top three run last autumn is Paul Beshara’s third placed Adelaide raider Happy Trails.
Equal favourite with Criterion in the all-in Australian Cup odds currently is the Chris Waller-trained Zabeel four-year-old Preferment.
The $1.5 million earning stallion also had his last run overseas when seventh in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) on the back of disappointing Cox Plate (ninth) and Melbourne Cup (20th) results for Waller.
Prior to that he posted his third career win in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) over the same track and distance as the Australian Cup.
Waller is yet to prepare an Australian Cup winner and along with Preferment has five other nominations including his Caulfield Guineas winning colt Press Statement who is also in the mix for the Australian Guineas over 1600m the Saturday before.
Spring Champion Stakes winning colt Vanbrugh is also dually nominated across the Australian Guineas – Australian Cup this season.
Following the $7 top fancies in the Australian Cup markets are two $9 hopes, the John O’Shea-trained European import Bow Creek and Lee & Anthony Freedman’s Caulfield Cup third placed former German galloper Our Ivanhowe.
Another big hope for O’Shea and the Godolphin stable is Hauraki ($11), the Reset four-year-old runner-up in last season’s Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m).
Also among the Godolphin contingent are the likes of last autumn’s Sydney Cup fourth placegetter Hartnell and Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) winner Magic Hurricane.
Other notable entries include Murray Baker’s Caulfield Cup winner Mongolian Khan, Nigel Blackiston’s Futurity Stakes winning mare Suavito and the Robert Hickmott-trained eight-year-old $3.8 million earner Fawkner.
See below for the full Australian Cup 2016 nominations then visit Ladbrokes.com.au to back your early favourites at their generous futures prices before markets firm over the coming weeks!
2016 Australian Cup Nominations
Flemington Racecourse – 12/03/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer|
|1||6x5067101x||ALMOONQITH (USA)||H||6||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|2||11x0x0D71x||AMRALAH (IRE)||H||6||Robert Hickmott|
|3||342x31703x||ARAB DAWN (GB)||G||5||John O’Shea|
|4||034x30721x||AWESOME ROCK||H||4||Leon & Troy Corstens|
|5||303x84047x||BOLD SNIPER (GB)||G||6||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|6||11x6x6x20x||BOW CREEK (IRE)||H||5||John O’Shea|
|7||135x61239x||CRITERION (NZ)||H||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|8||783x15167x||DEVIL HAWK||G||3||Chris Waller|
|9||21x11x||DODGING BULLETS||G||4||Symon Wilde|
|10||2460x2357x||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||G||6||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes|
|11||05x110010x||EXTRA CHOICE (NZ)||G||3||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|12||x25459770x||EXTRA ZERO||G||9||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|15||x6x0x0069x||GALLANTE (IRE)||G||5||Robert Hickmott|
|16||141x98046x||GUST OF WIND (NZ)||M||4||John Sargent|
|17||7x6050208x||HAPPY TRAILS||G||8||Paul Beshara|
|18||2114x4650x||HARTNELL (GB)||G||5||John O’Shea|
|20||1x8x52415x||HE OR SHE||G||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|21||324x16248x||HE’S OUR ROKKII (NZ)||G||3||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|23||210x09936x||LEEBAZ (NZ)||G||6||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes|
|24||260x900x2x||LIDARI (FR)||H||7||Darren Weir|
|25||55x143121x||MAGIC HURRICANE (IRE)||G||6||John O’Shea|
|26||9x5383482x||MESSENE||G||7||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes|
|27||1151x7431x||MONGOLIAN KHAN||H||4||Murray Baker|
|30||6416765x3x||NO TRICKS (NZ)||M||4||Wayne Walters|
|31||16x7x9230x||OUR IVANHOWE (GER)||H||6||Lee & Anthony Freedman|
|33||11111x||PERFECT REFLECTION||F||3||Darren Weir|
|34||28x011907x||PREFERMENT (NZ)||H||4||Chris Waller|
|35||111x2511x||PRESS STATEMENT||C||3||Chris Waller|
|36||110×441||PURE KARMA||G||4||Saab Hasan|
|37||22x620027x||RISING ROMANCE (NZ)||M||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|38||2x61211x||RISQUE (NZ)||F||3||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|39||33x132200x||ROYAL DESCENT||M||6||Chris Waller|
|40||12217x||SACRED EYE||F||3||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|41||7×62333411||SECOND BULLET||G||5||Danny O’Brien|
|42||92314x8x1x||SIGNOFF (IRE)||G||6||Darren Weir|
|43||17148x||SOVEREIGN NATION||C||3||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|44||412011x61x||ST JEAN (IRE)||H||6||Aaron Purcell|
|45||0x00x04442||STAR ROLLING||G||6||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison|
|46||32x731310x||STRATUM STAR||H||4||Darren Weir|
|47||2N311x117x||SUAVITO (NZ)||M||5||Nigel Blackiston|
|48||311731x||TARZINO (NZ)||C||3||Mick Price|
|49||4x3432161x||TASHBEEH||H||4||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|50||x0x122610x||THE UNITED STATES (IRE)||H||6||Robert Hickmott|
|51||55x416211x||TORGERSEN (NZ)||C||3||Chris Waller|
|53||0x2x51352x||VELOX (GB)||G||6||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig|
|55||1×831114||XTRAVAGANT (NZ)||C||3||Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards|