Phillip Stokes’ Sir John Monash Stakes winning...
The final 2018 Australian Cup field for Super Saturday at Flemington this weekend is now out with a dozen weight-for-age hopefuls engaged in the autumn feature.
Due to run as Flemington Race 8 at 4:35pm (AEDT), this season’s Group 1 $1.5 million Australian Cup (2000m) has drawn its largest field in three years and is led by the Darren Weir-trained Gailo Chop.
Weir won the race last season with his Peter Young Stakes runner-up Humidor and returns 12 months on with a last start winner of the same traditional lead-up, Gailo Chop.
The French import made it two-from-two this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival with his smart one and a quarter-length victory in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) on February 24.
Gailo Chop is now looking to complete the double for the first time since Fiorente (2014) and if successful will be the first seven-year-old Australian Cup winner since Niconero (2009).
The Peter Young Stakes has produced three of the past four Australian Cup champions and the other placegetters from this year’s race are Single Gaze and Hartnell both also backing-up in Saturday’s Group 1 rematch.
Single Gaze is prepared out of Canberra by Nick Olive, the five-year-old Not A Single Doubt mare running second in three of her last four starts.
The first was in the Caulfield Cup over the mile and a half last October before the narrow loss following a luckless run in the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) first-up and the Peter Young on Blue Diamond Day.
In the Peter Young Stakes Single Gaze beat home Hartnell who previously held her measure for his CF Orr Stakes win and on Saturday the mare will be reaching peak fitness three runs in.
She does however need to break a notable Australian Cup hoodoo for the mares with Makybe Diva (2005) the last to beat home the boys.
Hartnell meanwhile represents the powerhouse Godolphin stable and is drawn in barrier six, one wider than Single Gaze in five.
The multiple Group 1 winning son of Authorized should also be well-suited to the extra metres of Saturday having an outstanding 2000m record (12:4-3-1).
The two other major players according to the Australian Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are both Liam Howley-trained for owner Lloyd Williams: Almandin and The Taj Mahal drawn in barriers 11 and seven respectively.
Almandin is best known for his 2016 Melbourne Cup success and the eight-year-old son of Monsun is looking to turn the tables on stablemate Homesman, also in the Australian Cup field, after the duo ran the quinella in the Listed Ladbrokes Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m).
The other most recent run by Almandin was last November when runner-up in the Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m) won by The Taj Mahal who races for the first time since on Saturday with Ben Melham riding the Galileo four-year-old.
2018 Australian Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 8 (4:35pm) – 10/03/2018
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||2x12290x13||HARTNELL (GB)||James Cummings||Craig Williams||6||59kg||114|
|2||11x21402x2||ALMANDIN (GER)||Liam Howley||Damien Oliver||11||59kg||110|
|3||0x24x45x0x||AMBITIOUS (JPN)||Anthony Freedman||Damian Lane||12||59kg||109|
|4||0143150×11||GAILO CHOP (FR)||Darren Weir||Mark Zahra||10||59kg||115|
|5||x5x76200x4||VENTURA STORM (IRE)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Regan Bayliss||2||59kg||106|
|6||11×2203422||SUPPLY AND DEMAND||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Stephen Baster||9||59kg||104|
|7||x515867x28||HARLEM (GB)||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Michael Walker||4||59kg||104|
|8||15x2114x39||LORD FANDANGO (GER)||Archie Alexander||Jordan Childs||1||59kg||102|
|9||446925041x||THE TAJ MAHAL (IRE)||Liam Howley||Ben Melham||7||58.5kg||107|
|10||2x412153x1||HOMESMAN (USA)||Liam Howley||Michael Dee||3||58.5kg||105|
|11||x054420x22||SINGLE GAZE||Nick Olive||Ms Kathy O’Hara||5||57kg||110|
|12||3328×13421||DEVISE (NZ)||Shaune Ritchie||Chad Schofield||8||57kg||102|
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