The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
A possible Melbourne Cup contender next month sits top of the 2017 Moonee Valley Gold Cup field and betting markets for this weekend with the Darren Weir-trained Big Duke nearing odds-on territory for the Cox Plate Day race.
Scheduled to run as Moonee Valley Race 6 at 3:00pm (AEDT) in the lead-up to Winx dominating the Ladbrokes Cox Plate for the third year on the trot, a small field of just seven stayers face of in the Group 2 $300,000 McCafe Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m).
The diminutive field remains full of depth including the clear cut favourite at a current quote of $2 in the Moonee Valley Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, Big Duke.
A $21 shot in futures Melbourne Cup betting for the two mile classic on Tuesday November, 7, the in-form Raven’s Pass six-year-old comes off a smart win in Randwick’s St. Leger (2600m) on The Everest Day.
Big Duke returns to Melbourne after his other recent Sydney start when runner-up to Foundry in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m), and comes back from 58.5kg in the St. Leger to 57kg at set weights plus penalties.
The even weights, barrier one draw, small field and 2500m distance all look ideal for the deserving Moonee Valley Gold Cup favourite who also has Brenton Avdulla retaining the ride on Saturday.
Outside of Big Duke it is an open edition of the Moonee Valley Gold Cup won last year by the Chris Waller-trained Grand Marshal over stablemate Who Shot Thebarman.
Waller has two chances in the mix again in 2017 with last year’s runner-up Who Shot Thebarman paying $5.50 to return to better form and Libran at an equal quote in the markets.
Veteran Kiwi expat Who Shot Thebarman is now a nine-year-old and is out to atone for the ninth to Big Duke in the St. Leger last time out.
The multiple Sydney Cup and Melbourne Cup placed stayer is a dour type whose other latest run produced a fourth in The Metropolitan.
He hasn’t finished in the money since the second to Polarisation in the rescheduled Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) in April, but is being kept safe in betting for a top three run this weekend.
The stablemate Libran jumps from the outside barrier in the small Moonee Valley Gold Cup field with Damien Oliver riding the Lawman seven-year-old.
Also a St. Leger graduate from October 14 when fifth, Libran was sixth in The Metropolitan after winning the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) in mid-September.
Between the favourite and the Waller duo in the Moonee Valley Gold Cup markets paying $5 to continue his ace spring form is the Richard Freedman-trained Le Harve seven-year-old Auvray.
The French import has run top two in his four latest starts including the Group 3 Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m) second on September 15 and his Group 3 Colin Stephen Quality (2400m) win over the mile-and-a-half at Rosehill a fortnight later.
Auvray was second to Big Duke in the St. Leger last time out beaten three-quarters of a length and is out to turn the tables on his last start conqueror in Saturday’s rematch.
See below for the full Moonee Valley Gold Cup 2017 field, barriers, jockeys and Fixed Win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 Moonee Valley Gold Cup Field, Barriers & Odds
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