The opening Group 1 race of the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival is Saturday week’s BTC Cup 2016, nominations for the Doomben Racecourse classic released this week and led by Canberra-trained Fell Swoop.
A total of 19 sprinters make up the early entries for this year’s $500,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m), early betting on the weight-for-age clash led by Matthew Dale’s flying four-year-old Fell Swoop.
The Not A Single Doubt gelding has been racing in top company over the autumn running well in three Group 1s before his Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m) in Brisbane last Saturday.
Runner-up in both the Oakleigh Plate and TJ Smith Stakes this season, he saluted for the Doomben punters as the odds-on favourite in the Victory Stakes and will return to the same track and distance on May 14 for the BTC Cup.
He’s looking to become the first four-year-old BTC Cup winner since mighty mare Black Caviar, while the last four-year-old male to win the race was Spark Of Life (2005).
Fell Swoop’s biggest danger is perceived to be Malaguerra, the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Magnus four-year-old heading towards a run in the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 11.
The gelding won the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill in late March before his sixth to English in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) in mid-April ahead of his Brisbane debut in the BTC Cup.
Last year’s BTC Cup winner Hot Snitzel (2015) ran third in the Star Kingdom Stakes ahead of his Group 1 Doomben win as a $25 roughie, but without a run in between.
The other best out of the Victory Stakes last Saturday nominated for the BTC Cup is third placed Artlee prepared at Muswellbrook by Todd Willan.
The Excellent Art five-year-old was beaten just over a length in his first look at the Doomben track and continues to chase his first win since a Black-Type at Scone 12 months ago.
Along with Fell Swoop the other last start winners among the BTC Cup entries include Bjorn Baker’s Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes champ Music Magnate the Chris Waller-trained Japonisme.
Sydney’s best trainer Waller has enjoyed previous Group 1 success in Brisbane, but is yet to train a BTC Cup winner.
He has a trio from his stable nominated this winter led by his Coolmore Stud Stakes winning three-year-old Japonisme who comes off another lucrative win in the Group 2 Arrowfield 3YO Sprint (1200m) from April 9.
Waller’s other entries are Arrowfield Sprint runner-up Counterattack and last year’s Darley Classic winning four-year-old Delectation.
The other headline nominee is Charlie Boy for last year’s winning trainers Peter & Paul Snowden.
Charlie Boy enjoyed a strong winter in Brisbane last year winning the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m) and finishing second in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) before his second last (14th), but still only beaten five lengths in the Stradbroke.
The surprise omissions from the BTC Cup nominations meanwhile were Our Boy Malachi and Generalife.
See below for the full BTC Cup 2016 nominations, the final field and barrier draw due for release next Wednesday, May 11.
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2016 BTC Cup Nominations
Doomben Racecourse – 14/05/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer|
|2||20x2600x16||CHARLIE BOY||G||5||Peter & Paul Snowden|
|5||815x13x735||DOTHRAKI||G||5||Peter & Paul Snowden|
|6||71202x409x||ECHO GAL||M||4||Gai Waterhouse|
|7||41111×2421||FELL SWOOP||G||4||Matthew Dale|
|11||x11211x116||MALAGUERRA||G||4||Lee & Anthony Freedman|
|12||x52x2311x1||MUSIC MAGNATE (NZ)||G||4||Bjorn Baker|
|13||1x56x4041x||SACRED STAR||G||6||Tony Pike|
|14||217×01||SPIETH (NZ)||C||3||Bryce Heys|
|15||1x623x1481||SPILL THE BEANS||C||3||Gerald Ryan|
|16||11×1319||STELLAR COLLISION||G||3||Darren Weir|
|17||31310×7236||STRATUM STAR||H||4||Darren Weir|
|18||x126242x25||TARGET IN SIGHT||G||6||Joseph Pride|
|19||227222×612||TWO BLUE||M||7||Kristen Buchanan|