Twenty-seven horses remain in contention for the Australian Cup 2016 on ‘Super Saturday’ at Flemington Racecourse next month after first acceptances closed on Tuesday.
One of two elite level Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival features taking place on March 12, this year’s $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) originally attracted 55 nominations.
That number was reduced this week with Australian Cup first declarations taken by Racing Victoria.
Sitting number one on the Australian Cup ballot is eight-year-old Fawkner for Robert Hickmott and goliath owner Lloyd Williams, the veteran son of Reset a three-time Group 1 winner.
In 2013 he won the Caulfield Cup and has twice contested the Melbourne Cup for a sixth in 2013 and 10th in 2014, but is yet to run in an Australian Cup field.
He returned to racing with a 14th, beaten only four lengths, in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 13 and is currently a $15 hope in futures Australian Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Those all-in Australian Cup odds are led by the Godolphin-raced import Bow Creek ($6) and the Chris Waller-trained Preferment ($7).
Bow Creek is yet to win down under, his latest start producing a CF Orr Stakes 13th, but the Shamardal stallion is tipped to improve over the autumn starting with a run this weekend in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m).
Trainer John O’Shea has also paid the Australian Cup first acceptance fee for last year’s Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) winner in Sydney Magic Hurricane and last Saturday’s Listed Parramatta Cup (1900m) winner at Rosehill Arab Dawn.
Second best in betting for next month’s weight-for-age clash, Preferment is a four-year-old son of Zabeel who is nominated to contest the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) over the Randwick mile this Saturday.
Winner of last October’s Turnbull Stakes, the 2014 Victoria Derby winner’s last start was in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) where he ran seventh to Highland Reel back in December.
Waller is yet to trainer an Australian Cup winner and Preferment is his only remaining hope in the 2016 edition.
The other early single figure hope for the win is dual New Zealand Group 1 winner Xtravagant ($8), the three-year-old Pentire colt also the top fancy for the previous Saturday’s $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
The last three-year-old Australian Cup winner was the Mark Kavanagh-trained Super Cool (2013) who was the first since Saintly (1996).
Along with Xtravagant there are six other three-year-old Australian Cup first acceptors including Mick Price’s Victoria Derby winner Tarzino, Kevin Hayes Stakes winning filly Risque imported from New Zealand and the Darren Weir-trained Palentino.
David Hayes & Tom Dabernig won last year’s Australian Cup with five-year-old Spillway, Risque one of seven hopefuls still in the mix for the stable to go back-to-back this season.
The other most notable Hayes & Dabernig-trained chances include the spring’s Geelong Cup – Sandown Cup double winner Almoonqith ($13), November’s Emirates Stakes fifth-placegetter He Or She ($21) and last year’s runner-up Extra Zero ($41).
Winner of the CF Orr Stakes first-up off a 10 month spell, Nigel Blackiston’s classy mare Suavito is also right in the mix for the Australian Cup this preparation.
On the weekend she defends her Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) title at Caulfield, and she is already rated a $10 hope for the 2000m feature in three weeks’ time.
See below for the full list of Australian Cup 2016 first acceptances, markets open on the classic now through Ladbrokes.com.au!
2016 Australian Cup First Acceptances & Ballot
Flemington Racecourse – 12/03/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight|
|2||x6050208x0||HAPPY TRAILS||G||8||Paul Beshara||2||59kg|
|3||2x620027x0||RISING ROMANCE (NZ)||M||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||3||57kg|
|4||x254597706||EXTRA ZERO||G||9||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||4||59kg|
|5||28x011907x||PREFERMENT (NZ)||H||4||Chris Waller||5||59kg|
|7||N311x117x1||SUAVITO (NZ)||M||5||Nigel Blackiston||7||57kg|
|8||311731×4||TARZINO (NZ)||C||3||Mick Price||8||54.5kg|
|9||16x7x9230x||OUR IVANHOWE (GER)||H||6||Lee & Anthony Freedman||9||59kg|
|10||11111×3||PERFECT REFLECTION||F||3||Darren Weir||10||52.5kg|
|11||10x09936x5||LEEBAZ (NZ)||G||6||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||11||59kg|
|12||5x143121x7||MAGIC HURRICANE (IRE)||G||6||John O’Shea||12||59kg|
|13||260x900x2x||LIDARI (FR)||H||7||Darren Weir||13||59kg|
|14||412x9102x9||FENWAY||M||4||Lee & Shannon Hope||14||57kg|
|15||6x5067101x||ALMOONQITH (USA)||H||6||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||15||59kg|
|16||460x2357x0||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||G||6||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||16||59kg|
|17||1x6x6x20x0||BOW CREEK (IRE)||H||5||John O’Shea||17||59kg|
|18||1×8311141||XTRAVAGANT (NZ)||C||3||Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards||18||54.5kg|
|19||2x61211x1||RISQUE (NZ)||F||3||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||19||52.5kg|
|20||34x30721x0||AWESOME ROCK||H||4||Leon & Troy Corstens||20||59kg|
|21||17148×65||SOVEREIGN NATION||C||3||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||21||54.5kg|
|23||2x31703x81||ARAB DAWN (GB)||G||5||John O’Shea||23||59kg|
|24||x343216112||TASHBEEH||H||4||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||24||59kg|
|25||x8x52415x2||HE OR SHE||G||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||25||59kg|
|26||21x11x62||DODGING BULLETS||G||4||Symon Wilde||26||59kg|