Warwick Farm horseman David Vandyke believes his progressive galloper Maurus is the over-priced runner and forgotten horse for Saturday’s 2016 Doomben Cup in Brisbane.
There are 14 first acceptances for this year’s $650,000 Group 1 Hardy Brothers Doomben Cup (2000m), the final field for the weight-for-age classic out on Wednesday.
Vandyke had three possible hopes heading towards the race, but has thrown Medicean five-year-old Maurus in the deep end over Astronomos and last weekend’s Group 3 JRA Cup (2000m) runner-up Sir John Hawkwood.
“He is going the best (of the three) at the moment, especially for a 2000m race,” Vandyke told the Gold Coast Bulletin this week.
“I could have run Sir John Hawkwood, Astronomos or Maurus (in the Doomben Cup) and Maurus is the most progressive and he is showing a new level of ability in attitude, in trackwork and at his most recent start.”
All-in Doomben Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are firmly led by the John O’Shea-trained four-year-old Hauraki, runner-up to fellow Group 1 hope on Saturday Leebaz last time out in the Gold Coast’s Group 2 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) a fortnight back.
Maurus meanwhile can be found at the other end of Doomben Cup betting paying $15 to score the upset and hand Vandyke with his first success in the race.
That’s a juicy price according to the horse’s trainer who is tipping the gelding to run well again at Doomben Racecourse after saluting by a runaway 3.5 lengths at the track over 2200m on April 30.
“I think coming back from 2200m to 2000m will be ideal and he will be strong the whole way,” Vandyke said.
That Doomben win followed on from two good autumn runs in Sydney including his third to Libran in the Listed Randwick City Stakes (2000m) in early March.
For his big Doomben win last time out, Maurus carried 56.5kg to victory and must handle the rise to 59kg at WFA on the weekend in his first elite level test since running a failed 11th to Magic Hurricane in last October’s Group 1 the Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick.
“He is making a quantum leap in class going from an open handicap to a Group 1 but he is a very tough horse and he is a last start Doomben track winner which carries some weight,” Vandyke said.
“He deserves to be double figure odds but I think he is going to run a mighty race.”
The most notable omission from the Doomben Cup field this Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival will be the Darren Weir-trained import Raw Impulse.
Equal $6 third favourite in betting with last year’s Rosehill Guineas winning New Zealander Volkstok’n’barrell, the smart Makfi stallion has won his past three runs in Melbourne including bit back-to-back victories at Caulfield over 1800m by 3.25 lengths and 2000m by 2.75 lengths this time in.
Australian Bloodstock’s Luke Murrell however said the horse would bypass the Doomben Cup in favour of either the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m) at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Handicap Day, June 11, or the Listed WJ McKell Cup (2400m) at Randwick on May 28.
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