Nominations for Saturday’s Mornington Cup 2016 in Victoria attracted 25 early entries led in ratings by Robert Hickmott’s last start Ranvet Stakes winner The United States, who is a likely non-acceptor.
One of two black-types on the Mornignton race card this weekend, the lucrative $300,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) is shaping up as a class edition of the staying clash.
On March 19 at Rosehill Gardens, the Lloyd Williams-raced Galileo stallion The United States enjoyed a Group 1 win over 2000m taking out the Ranvet Stakes.
He is officially nominated for the Mornington Cup, but the imported six-year-old is more likely to head out for a spell or be saved for a clash with Winx in Sydney’s $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 9.
The stable has also nominated for Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) third placegetter Observational, fellow last start Caulfield winner over 2400m from Easter Saturday High Church and Group 3 Manion Cup (2400m) third placed Gallante from March 19 at Rosehill.
One of the spruik Mornington Cup hopefuls this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival is the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Irish import Tom Melbourne.
Lightly-raced for his age, the Dylan Thomas five-year-old has won five of his seven starts to date, all but one of which were in Australia.
He stepped into stakes’ company for the first time on March 18 to win the Listed Albury Gold Cup (2000m) by an easy three and a half lengths as the odds-on favourite with Glen Boss aboard last start.
This weekend he is out to continue that form with a tougher Mornington Cup run as one of four locally-trained hopefuls in the feature.
He chases the ballot exemption into the Spring’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on offer to the Mornington Cup winner.
The other Mornington-based hopes in the mix this year are the Lisa Enright-trained Black Stardom, Paul Rocke’s Nisos and Paradanza for Tony Noonan.
Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir has four nominees with hurdler Ancient King, last start Yarra Valley Cup winner Falago, last year’s Geelong Cup third placed French import Manndawi and Puccini.
A dual Group 1 winner in New Zealand, Puccini hasn’t posted a win since January of 2015 but was far from disgraced when crossing just a length away fourth to Leebaz in last Saturday’s Easter Cup.
Third in the Yarra Valley Cup in the mud Berisha represents Robert Smerdon, while Tony McEvoy has nominated for his Golden Miler runner-up Big Memory.
Other notable entries include last start Bendigo winner over the mile and a half Dandy Gent, veteran eight-year-old Mujadale who is two-from-four over the distance, recent Torney Cup winner at Moonee Valley Swacadelic who ran fifth in the Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) in mid-March and the flying Tunes.
A seven-year-old son of Viscount, the Grant Young-trained Tunes is in ace form having run top three in his past six starts at home in Adelaide.
Two back he ran third to Signoff in the Group 3 Lord Reims Stakes (2600m) before improving to cross a narrow second beaten a neck by Purple Smile as a $41 outsider in the Adelaide Cup over the two miles.
Check out the full Mornington Cup 2016 nominations below, the final field and barriers out on Wednesday at 9:30am (AEDT).
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2016 Mornington Cup Nominations
Mornington Racecourse – 02/04/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|2||x009936x16||ANCIENT KING (IRE)||G||6||Darren Weir||89|
|4||028x486x82||BIG MEMORY (FR)||G||6||Tony McEvoy||98|
|5||5562342132||BLACK STARDOM (NZ)||G||7||Lisa Enright||68|
|6||D2x3632421||DANDY GENT||G||4||Terry & Karina O’Sullivan||86|
|7||4098035×85||DON DOREMO (NZ)||G||5||Robbie Laing||87|
|9||x0x0069x03||GALLANTE (IRE)||G||5||Robert Hickmott||98|
|10||36×0158144||GOLDEN MANE||G||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||85|
|11||12x336x251||HIGH CHURCH (IRE)||G||5||Robert Hickmott||80|
|12||6752337652||LUCKY LUCKY LUCKY||G||6||Tony McEvoy||88|
|13||x3673x7689||MANNDAWI (FR)||G||6||Darren Weir||94|
|14||3×59637210||MUJADALE||G||8||Paul A Jones||91|
|16||67x1x0x073||OBSERVATIONAL (GB)||G||5||Robert Hickmott||97|
|18||2362×13113||PEMBERLEY (NZ)||G||4||Ciaron Maher||82|
|19||00820×0304||PUCCINI (NZ)||H||5||Darren Weir||101|
|20||x882138215||SWACADELIC (GER)||G||5||Aaron Purcell||92|
|21||122610×521||THE UNITED STATES (IRE)||H||6||Robert Hickmott||108|
|22||1x0171x11||TOM MELBOURNE (IRE)||G||5||Lee & Anthony Freedman||96|
|24||24935×5178||TUSCAN FIRE||G||9||Dan O’Sullivan||89|