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The Godolphin-raced Hartnell is one of the standout Australian Cup 2018 first acceptances taken for the Flemington Super Saturday showdown next month.
First declarations for this season’s Group 1 $1.5 million Australian Cup (2000m) closed on Tuesday and Racing Victoria received 26 entries, cutting the number of weight-for-age hopefuls down from 53 at nomination stage.
The James Cummings-trained triple Group 1 winning import Hartnell is one of the top fancies for the March 10 feature after saluting first-up in the Group 1 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m).
A regular rival to the queen of the turf Winx over the seasons, Authorized seven-year-old Hartnell races again this weekend in the Group 2 $200,000 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) on Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
The Peter Young Stakes has produced three of the past four Australian Cup winners and could again prove a key form line into the Group 1 again this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
Post-first acceptance Australian Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au list Hartnell as the $6.50 second favourite with the all-in markets led by Gailo Chop ($4.50).
Also engaged in the Peter Young Stakes field chasing the double with the Australian Cup next-up that was last achieved by Fiorente (2014), Gailo Chop is also a seven-year-old in fine form.
Prepared by master Victorian trainer Darren Weir, the Deportivo gelding is a dual Group 1 winner down under and enjoyed a Caulfield win on CF Orr Day in his campaign kick-off in the Group 3 TS Carlyon Cup (1600m).
Weir won the Australian Cup last year with Humidor (2017) who improved on a lead-up second in the Peter Young Stakes and, and Gailo Chop is his sole first acceptor this season.
Dominating the Australian Cup first acceptances numbers-wise with a bumper six entries is the new head trainer for the Lloyd Williams-owned Mt Macedon Lode, Liam Howley.
The best fancied of the Howley-trained contingent in the latest Australian Cup betting is The Taj Mahal who will stake his claims in the Peter Young Stakes.
Formerly prepared in Ireland, the progressive Galileo four-year-old races for the first time since improving on his Emirates Stakes fourth at Flemington to win last November’s Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m) by three and a half-lengths.
Other noteworthy Howley-trained Williams’ runners heading towards the Australian Cup field this season include 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin who was runner-up to The Taj Mahal in the Sandown Cup and last year’s Melbourne Cup quinella of Rekindling (1st) and Johannes Vermeer (2nd).
No mare has won the Australian Cup since the champion Makybe Diva (2005) who is the only female winner of the race since Dane Ripper (1998).
This year there are four mares in the Australian Cup first acceptances led by Single Gaze, Nick Olive’s Caulfield Cup runner-up impressive in her luckless second to Hartnell when resuming in the CF Orr Stakes.
Check out the full Australian Cup 2018 first acceptances below before visiting Ladbrokes.com.au for updated markets on the classic.
2018 Australian Cup First Acceptances
Flemington Racecourse – 10/03/2018
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Ballot||Weight|
|1||22x12290x1||HARTNELL (GB)||G||7||James Cummings||1||59kg|
|2||111x21402x||ALMANDIN (GER)||G||8||Liam Howley||2||59kg|
|3||0x1401241x||REKINDLING (GB)||H||4||Liam Howley||3||58.5kg|
|4||0x24x45x0x||AMBITIOUS (JPN)||H||6||Anthony Freedman||4||59kg|
|5||x0143150x1||GAILO CHOP (FR)||G||7||Darren Weir||5||59kg|
|6||2x054420x2||SINGLE GAZE||M||5||Nick Olive||6||57kg|
|7||45712x232x||JOHANNES VERMEER (IRE)||H||5||Liam Howley||7||59kg|
|8||6202720×24||PRIZED ICON||H||4||Kris Lees||8||59kg|
|9||1x5x76200x||VENTURA STORM (IRE)||G||5||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||9||59kg|
|10||111×220342||SUPPLY AND DEMAND||G||5||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||10||59kg|
|11||446925041x||THE TAJ MAHAL (IRE)||H||4||Liam Howley||11||58.5kg|
|12||515x2114x3||LORD FANDANGO (GER)||H||5||Archie Alexander||12||59kg|
|13||00x72586x6||ABBEY MARIE||M||5||Michael Kent||13||57kg|
|14||6x515867x2||HARLEM (GB)||G||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||14||59kg|
|15||23x11432x8||SULLY (NZ)||G||3||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||15||54.5kg|
|16||6822063×34||WYNDSPELLE (NZ)||H||4||Michael Kent||16||59kg|
|17||3059x1153x||WHEAL LEISURE||M||4||Archie Alexander||17||57kg|
|18||2x412153x||HOMESMAN (USA)||G||4||Liam Howley||18||58.5kg|
|20||x090x56111||SINGING (FR)||H||8||Kris Lees||20||59kg|
|21||9x12x1397x||ALOFT (IRE)||G||6||Liam Howley||21||59kg|
|22||3x212135x4||MAIN STAGE (NZ)||G||3||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||22||54.5kg|
|23||4339332215||JACQUINOT BAY||G||10||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||23||59kg|
|24||23328×1342||DEVISE (NZ)||M||4||Shaune Ritchie||24||57kg|
|25||204x77x52x||SPIRITJIM (FR)||H||8||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||25||59kg|
|26||49x431x162||VALIANT SPIRIT||G||3||Daniel Williams||26||54.5kg|
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