Matt Cumani’s imported stallion Grey Lion is the narrow favourite in the updated Geelong Cup 2016 betting markets for Wednesday following two early scratchings from the field.
In recent years the $300,000 Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) has served as a key lead-up to the ‘race that stops a nation’ – the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) run on the first Tuesday of November.
The double has been completed by the likes of Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011), both French raiders, and another international is favoured for the first leg this season.
Five-year-old Grey Lion is now officially prepared at Ballarat, but the former French-trained entire is yet to race down under.
He comes off a dead last when eighth to Nearly Court in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) back in late August and drops from 59kg that run to 55kg this Wednesday.
Katelyn Mallyon is booked to ride the galloper in the Geelong Cup field that is now down to nine runners after the withdrawal of the Chris Waller-trained Who Shot Thebarman (10) and the John O’Shea-trained Arab Dawn (11).
Grey Lion put in a nice track gallop last week where he beat home subsequent Caulfield Cup placegetter Exospheric and Cumani is confident he can salute for the punters.
“I’m confident he is going into the race in his best possible form,” he told The Herald Sun.
“Now it’s really down to whether he has the ability or not. I couldn’t be happier with the horse. I am going into the race confident.”
Grey Lion sits top of the Geelong Cup odds at $3.60 through Ladbrokes.com.au, but hot on his heels are the likes of Oceanographer ($4) and Kinema ($4.40).
The race is a must win for the Charlie Appleby-trained English raider Oceanographer who is over for a shot at the 2016 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 1.
Ben Melham rides the Sea The Stars gelding on the 54kg lightweight, a big drop in weight from the 60.5kg he carried for a seventh in the Ebor Handicap (2816m) at York last start.
He is another that has been working well at Werribee and can give Grey Lion a run for his money.
Drawn the rails is Waller’s remaining hopeful, Galileo six-year-old Kinema.
Also imported for the spring bid down under, the former UK-trained gelding ran 11th in the Ebor Handicap last time out when well beaten under 61.5kg from barrier 20 of 20.
This is a much easier assignment over the mile and a half on just 54kg with Craig Newitt in the saddle.
Also at single figures in a wide open Geelong Cup betting market this spring are Appleby’s other runner Qewy ($5.50) also representing Godolphin and the early mover Black Tomahawk ($10 into $7.50) for last year’s Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir.
Street Cry seven-year-old Black Tomahawk hasn’t raced since a Summer Stakes second at Goodwood back in late July when ridden by the Sydney-based jockey James McDonald on 61kg.
A dour stayer, he’s suited to this distance and further and Kerrin McEvoy rides on the weekend from barrier seven on the 54kg minimum.
Black Tomahawk meanwhile has barrier three and Craig Williams aboard, the perennial placegetter coming off a string of second and third efforts.
The latest was behind Almandin in the Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) at this distance at Caulfield on September 24.
See below for the full Geelong Cup 2016 odds, betting now open at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $700 First Deposit Match Bet Bonus for new sign-ups (excluding NSW) with use of the code SPRINGBONUS (T&Cs apply).