Some of the 2016 Spring Carnival’s standout stayers are poised to line up at Moonee Valley Racecourse this weekend after twenty-five Moonee Valley Gold Cup nominations were taken on Monday morning.
The Moonee Valley Gold Cup often attracts runners targeting the Melbourne Cup and that trend has continued in 2016, with the likes of Excess Knowledge and Who Shot Thebarman set to be joined by internationals Francis Of Assisi and Oceanographer on Saturday.
Excess Knowledge has been a strong and consistent performer for Gai Waterhouse since his arrival in Australia in 2014, and has posted a commendable career total of five wins and nine minors through twenty-four starts.
Running second in each of the Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) and Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) last spring, the Monsun entire secured ballot-free entry into the Melbourne Cup with an impressive win in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) on Derby Day.
Placing an impressive seventh in the Race That Stops a Nation, Excess Knowledge required a couple of runs to find form upon resuming this time, but ran a pleasing third in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) last time out on October 2nd.
Who Shot Thebarman has returned to racing in typically smart form this time and should relish the conditions of the Moonee Valley Cup.
Placing sixth in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) and fifth in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) in his first two starts, the Yamanin Vital gelding placed second to Hartnell in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) on September 17th, but weakened late when seventh in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) last time out on October 1st.
Saddled by prominent British trainer Charlie Appleby, Frances Of Assisi is yet to make a competitive appearance in Australia, but has so far finished fourth in the Listed Silver Cup Stakes (2816m) and sixth in the Summer Stakes (2816m) this time in.
Francis Of Assisi has posted three wins and a minor through his twelve career starts, which have interestingly included seven starts over hurdles.
Oceanographer is arguably Appleby’s best chance of success amongst four Moonee Valley Cup nominations, and has returned to racing in excellent condition this year.
Running fourth in the Qipco Supporting British Racing Stakes (2414m) first-up on May 1st, the Sea The Stars gelding failed to fire in the Listed Wolferton Handicap (2011m) but has since won the Cover Wherever You Work Handicap (2066m) and finished a credible seventh amongst classy company in the Ebor Heritage Handicap (2816m) on August 20th.
The 2016 Moonee Valley Cup final field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday.
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2016 Moonee Valley Gold Cup Nominations
|#||Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp Rating|
|1||x221x66511||ALMANDIN (GER)||G||7||Robert Hickmott||103|
|2||03x8148x07||ARAB DAWN (GB)||G||6||John O’Shea||97|
|3||8x1153x921||ASSIGN (IRE)||G||6||Robert Hickmott||100|
|4||0x00915911||AUTHORITARIAN||G||5||Lee & Anthony Freedman||92|
|5||689x10x720||BLIZZARD (NZ)||G||6||Emma-Lee & David Browne||88|
|6||217x20x983||EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (GB)||H||7||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||105|
|7||009x830x33||FOUNDRY (IRE)||G||7||Robert Hickmott||97|
|8||143x60x46x||FRANCIS OF ASSISI (IRE)||G||7||Charlie Appleby||85|
|9||0069x031x2||GALLANTE (IRE)||G||6||Robert Hickmott||108|
|10||08533×7269||GRAND MARSHAL (GB)||G||7||Chris Waller||106|
|11||32x1837x8x||GREY LION (IRE)||H||5||Matt Cumani||100|
|12||322x01170x||KINEMA (IRE)||G||6||Chris Waller||94|
|13||76144×3626||MASTER ZEPHYR (GB)||G||5||Darren Weir||87|
|14||6x11x4017x||OCEANOGRAPHER (GB)||G||5||Charlie Appleby||88|
|15||113254×067||PENTATHLON (NZ)||G||5||John Wheeler||98|
|16||322x00x22x||QEWY (IRE)||G||7||Charlie Appleby||93|
|17||22x323x500||SECOND BULLET||G||6||Danny O’Brien||93|
|18||213141x24x||SECOND WAVE (IRE)||G||5||Charlie Appleby||99|
|19||25305×9340||SET SQUARE||M||5||Ciaron Maher||105|
|20||4×23114407||SIR ISAAC NEWTON (GB)||H||5||Aidan O’Brien||110|
|21||x81642x475||THE BANDIT (JPN)||H||5||John Sadler||78|
|24||4×91259841||WHITE DOLLAR SIGN||G||5||John Thom||69|
|25||90324×6527||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||G||8||Chris Waller||109|