Top Queensland hoop Damian Browne is confident the bookies have it right on Saturday at the Sunshine Coast and his mount Maurus in the 2016 Caloundra Cup is the one to beat.
There are 12 stayers left in the mix for this year’s $175,000 Listed Cellar Maintenance Australia Caloundra Cup (2400m) after the early scratching of the Michael Kent-trained Holy Cow (12).
Sitting top of the Caloundra Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au as the short-priced $1.65 favourite and firming is the locally-trained Maurus for former Sydney horseman David Vandyke.
It will be the first Sunshine Coast run for the Medicean five-year-old who comes off a smart three and a half-length victory over Jumbo Prince in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) from June 18.
Locally-based the Sunny Coast, Browne had the mount that day with Maurus carrying 58kg and retains the ride on Saturday as his galloper goes up to 59kg in the Caloundra Cup weights.
Drawn in barrier eight, Maurus has his first start over the 2400m since a distant 11th behind Magic Hurricane in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick last October when prepared in Sydney.
The ease of his Ipswich Cup victory however and his earlier good Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival form have the bookmakers and Browne convinced the horse will run out a strong mile and a half this weekend.
First-up in late April Maurus saluted over 2200m at Doomben putting three and a half-lengths on Volkhere before he was defeated under two lengths fifth behind Caulfield Cup placegetter Our Ivanhowe in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on May 21.
His biggest dangers of posting back-to-back wins this weekend according to the current Caloundra Cup betting markets are Index Linked ($7) and the aforementioned Jumbo Prince ($7).
Chris Waller saddles-up Dansili eight-year-old Index Linked who carries the 60kg top weight, a three kilo rise on the weight he had on his back last Saturday for a win in the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm.
Jumbo Prince meanwhile is prepared in Toowoomba by Michael Nolan and gets into Saturday’s race with 55.5kg, a kilo less than what he carried to second in the Ipswich Cup last time out.
Browne has been in flying form late during the carnival including enjoying his second Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara win in as many years last Saturday aboard Miss Cover Girl.
Maurus is one of three remaining rides at Caloundra for the jockey this weekend whose other major mount is aboard the Michael Moroney-trained Tivaci in the $125,000 Group 3 Sunshine Coast Guineas (1600m).
“The carnival started slowly for me but it has turned around in the past few weeks. It is a nice book of rides on Saturday and Maurus does look hard to beat in the Cup,” Browne told AAP.
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