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Godolphin’s The Metropolitan winner Magic Hurricane is far from a confirmed starter in next month’s Australian Cup 2016, however connections could be swayed if the Melbourne weather turns.
The Victorian tracks are known to produce firm going early in the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, a concern for Hurricane Run six-year-old Magic Hurricane according to trainer John O’Shea.
The horse is best on Soft going and will need rain in Melbourne to persuade O’Shea to target the $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington Racecourse on Super Saturday, March 12.
“He’d be doubtful, but a bit of rain could sway us,” O’Shea told Racing Victoria.
“It can get firm down there and he just likes to get his toe in the ground.”
The five-time winner who was last seen taking out the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick back in early October last year is being kept safe in Australian Cup betting by the bookmakers.
Futures Australian Cup odds are led by the likes of the Chris Waller-trained Preferment ($8), another Godolphin galloper with imported stallion Bow Creek ($9) and the internationally-performed David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion ($9).
Magic Hurricane can be found a little further down the all-in markets at $15, but remains a doubtful starter.
O’Shea confirmed all was on track for the horse to resume in Sydney’s $600,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on February 27.
From there the weather will help determine an exact autumn path.
“We’ll keep him in and watch it closely. He’ll run in the Chipping Norton and we’ll take it from there,” O’Shea said.
Originally prepared in Europe, the import has been racing down under since June last year exclusively in Sydney and is yet to race in Melbourne.
Along with Shamardal five-year-old Bow Creek whose last start produced a disappointing 12th behind Turn Me Loose in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in November, the other best fancied Australian Cup hope for O’Shea is Arab Dawn ($15).
A five-year-old Dalakhani gelding, the UK import is yet to race down under but has twice trialled at Rosehill this summer.
His last start was back on September 5 where he crossed third in the Group 3 September Stakes (2414m) at Kempton Park.
The stables other hopes are Hartnell and Hauraki both installed as $17 chances.
Authorized five-year-old Hartnell has winning form up to two miles and is best known for his Group 1 The BMW (2400m) win in Sydney last March.
He finished fourth to upset winner Grand Marshall in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at his next start, but has failed to finish in the money since.
During the spring he finished a credible fifth behind superstar mare Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) before his 15th, beaten under six lengths, in the iconic Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November.
Hauraki is the youngest of the contingent, the Reset four-year-old not having won since his Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m) success in Sydney last autumn.
He was runner-up to Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m) next time out, but had mixed results in the spring including a last start eighth behind Mongolian Khan again this time in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
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