Nigel Blackiston is confident his in-form mare Suavito is ready to take on the boys over 2000m in Saturday’s Australian Cup 2016 at Flemington Racecourse.
The five-year-old daughter of Thorn Park is one of 27 horses still officially entered for this year’s $1.5 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) that runs along with the $1.25 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) on ‘Super Saturday’.
To date Suavito has had five runs at Flemington for two wins, a second and a third. Her latest was the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) win in March last year meaning it has been 12 months since she visited Victoria’s premier track.
After a lengthy injury-forced break she returned to racing on February 13 at Caulfield and enjoyed a first-up win in the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m).
She then backed-up a fortnight later on Blue Diamond Stakes Day and crossed third finishing just over a length off the winner Turn Me Loose in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m), a race she won the previous Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
Now Blackiston stretches Suavito out over 2000m, a distance she was last seen winning the Group 2 Momentum Stakes over in November of 2014, after the mare worked home well late in the Futurity.
“She’s had two tough runs at 1400 metres and I think she was looking for the mile the other day,” Blackiston told AAP this week.
“I think with the work she’s done this week leading into Saturday, the 2000 metres is perfect for her.”
The last mare to win the Australian Cup was the champion Makybe Diva (2005) over a decade ago, giving Suavito a hoodoo to overcome on the weekend.
She is at single figures in the latest all-in Australian Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au to do so paying $9 to post another Group 1 win.
Those futures Australian Cup betting markets are firmly led by the John O’Shea-trained, Godolphin-raced import Bow Creek ($3.40) who comes off his maiden win down under in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m).
Bow Creek carries 59kg again on Saturday in the weight-for-age classic looking to complete the Peter Young Stakes – Australian Cup double for the first time since Fiorente (2014).
Also shorter than Suavito in the markets are Lee & Anthony Freedman’s Caulfield Cup placegetter Our Ivanhowe ($5) who comes off a fifth in the Peter Young, the Chris Waller-trained Zabeel four-year-old Preferment ($7) who ran a first-up fourth to start stablemate Winx in Sydney’s Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) and Darren Weir’s Australian Guineas winner Palentino ($7) who could still take on the older horses on a seven day turnaround.
Blackiston knows Bow Creek and co. present stiff competition, but remains happy with Suavito and where she is at.
“She’s coming out of two strong Group One races and strong form lines,” Blackiston said.
“Obviously Bow Creek is definitely one of the main opponents but there’s others in this race.
“There’s never such thing as an easy Group One. I’ve got a healthy respect for all the competition, but I wouldn’t change her for any of them.”
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