Veteran hoop Jim Byrne will chase a fourth...
Kris Lees’ in-form veteran Big Duke is the clear all-in favourite to win Saturday’s Caloundra Cup 2019 at the Sunshine Coast.
The seven-year-old son of Raven’s Pass has been in top form this Queensland Winter Racing Carnival, which he will be out to continue heading to Caloundra for the first time on the weekend.
One of 18 nominations for this season’s Listed $175,000 Caloundra Cup (2400m), Big Duke pays $3 in the latest pre-field odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The former Sydney Cup placegetter and Melbourne Cup fourth placed stayer in 2017 will be on the short seven-day turnaround should he run in the Caloundra Cup field.
Last Saturday he lined-up at Eagle Farm in the Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (3000m) and ran a huge race with the 60kg topweight finishing runner-up to gun three-year-old Vow And Declare (54kg).
Prior to that the two-time Group 1 runner-up Big Duke finished third when carrying the most weight from the widest gate in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).
Despite his consistent form at the top level, Big Duke has not actually won a race since October 2017 so it has been a long time between drinks for the $1.88 million earner.
Lees has three Caloundra Cup nominations this winter with the early favourite Big Duke joined in the potential line-up by stablemates Saunter Boy and Doukhan.
Saunter Boy occupies the second line of futures Caloundra Cup betting at $7, the French-bred grey third-up in Australia since being imported from Europe.
His latest start was at Rosehill on June 15 in the Listed Winter Cup (2400m) when 1.3 lengths back fifth behind Destiny’s Kiss in a top run that suggests he will be competitive in Queensland on the weekend.
Rising 11-year-old Doukhan meanwhile is also being kept safe in early betting, the Dansili gelding fifth in this year’s Sydney Cup over the two miles during Randwick’s ‘The Championships’.
He has had one run since when a disappointing eighth over 2400m in a BM78 at the Randwick track when carrying plenty of weight.
Another standout Caloundra Cup entry in 2019 is the Chris Waller-trained Mazaz who has also been nominated for the Stayer’s Cup (3200m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Mazaz has excellent form over the Caloundra Cup distance with four wins and four minor placings from nine runs.
He is out to frank the Winter Cup form from Sydney having placed under a quarter-length back third in the race a fortnight ago.
Ipswich Cup fourth placegetter Master Zephyr, New Zealand-trained mare Igraine and a four-year-old daughter of So You Think Sopressa are also in the mix for Saturday’s feature race in Queensland.
The official Caloundra Cup 2019 field and updated odds will be available through Ladbrokes.com.au on Wednesday.
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