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Perth Cup preview

New Year's Day in Australia traditionally means a plethora of race meetings scattered across the country, and none starting too early for those bearing a mild hangover from the night before. Plus, we have the added bonus of plentiful sunshine, none of this ridiculous endless bloody rain we have in the UK at the moment (can you tell this weather is giving me the shits?) Perth Cup day is a massive one in the West, often with temps around the 40C mark, which gets a bit uncomfortable, especially with a packed, drunken crowd. This year it will only be 33C, perfect Perth drinking weather, just stay in the shade!

Drafted in for a preview of this special occasion is the blogger known as @BrisburghPhil. You can read more of his work on his racing blog, or football ratings on his A-League blog.

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PERTH CUP PREVIEW 2013

Always a great way to bring in the New Year for any self-respecting racing fan. Somewhat of a pity that we no longer get to see a 3200m marathon, for since 2009 the race has been brought back to 2400m. Judging by this years capacity field perhaps that was the right decision in the long term by the WATC.

History;

Below are the only 4 winners of the race since 2009, (weight and barrier included) with comments that might be pertinent to this years’ edition;

2012- Western Jewel (14)- Won ATA Stakes 2200m. Dropped 5.5kg in weight. Came from 13th on the turn.

2011- Guest Wing (8)- 2nd ATA Stakes 2200m. Dropped 2kg in weight. Came from 13th turn.

2010- Lords Ransom (2)- Won CB Cox Stakes. Dropped 3.5kg. Came from 5th turn.

2009 Guyno- 6L 7th Cox Stakes. Dropped 5kg. Came from 10th turn.

Note that every winner thus far has dropped in weight to win the race, not surprising as that is a consistent factor in major handicap racing in Australia and probably other parts of the world too. The 2 successful lead up races have been the CB Cox and the lower class ATA Stakes at two a piece. 3 of the winners have come from well back on the turn and barriers have been of little consequence.

Tempo;

Should be a solid gallop here with Eastern States visitor Cantonese and local horse Westriver Kevydonn the natural leaders. Both are drawn wide and need to stake their claim early. The Adam Durrant horse Lopov is likely to go forward too at some stage which could add to the pace up front, and serve to upset the chances of the leaders. That horse made a searching run mid race when winning the Kalgoorlie Cup in September. Global Flirt should be somewhere near the pace, with God Has Spoken handier than him quite possibly.

Analysis;

MR MOET- A wonderfully consistent racehorse as evidenced by his last 11 starts which have produced 7 wins, 3 placings and a 0.9L 4th. He couldn’t be in better form and has had a great preparation leading in. This is going to be his acid test though, to win with a 59kg impost, conceding a lot of weight to some well credentialed rivals. He is drawn better than some of the major hopes though and he should get the right run in the race from a middle barrier (should start from 8 after scratchings). Yet to prove his stamina beyond 2200m but he didn’t have the easiest run in transit at 2100m last time, yet he still finished off with an indication that 2400m won’t trouble him. The stable has a big opinion, some big money came for him a week ago, and stablemate and certain danger Chester Road has been scratched, supposedly to injury. He is a leading hope to win this despite having to defy history to do so.

PLAYING GOD- Has been terribly disappointing at his past 2 starts after a very respectable run in the Railway Stakes. 2000m would appear to be as far as he wants and his barrier draw here should make it even more of a stamina test for him, especially with 58kg.

GOD HAS SPOKEN- Stablemate to the aforementioned he too is some risk at 2400m despite having run 2nd in this event last year. Really blotted his copybook last start in the Cox and you’d prefer to see him with a few kilos less here given he was 6L astern there.

WESTRIVER KEVYDONN- Was respectable when the first test to his stamina was applied in the Cox Stakes. He led there and was eventually beaten 3.75L in a fast run race. This is another large ask of a horse yet to win beyond 1600m and like GHS would probably need more weight relief off that last run to be considered one of the better chances here.

RANGER- Is a bit of an enigma in regard to what is actually his best distance. He didn’t quite appear to stay the 2100m of the Cox Stakes and has failed in this race as favourite in 2011. He certainly possesses the class to win and could reverse the tables on Mr Moet from last start if he runs out the 2400m. That probably isn’t likely on what we have seen thus far in his career.

LORDS RANSOM- 2009 winner who has shown little this campaign in 3 runs. Worth noting though he hasn’t quite got to his favoured distance range yet. At 2200m and beyond he is an incredible 6/6, and the 4kg weight drop he gets from last start could be the key to him finding something like his best form. Drawn to advantage so you’d have to say he is a rough hope of winning this at massive odds, given those distance credentials. Just needs to lift a cog or 2 to put himself in the reckoning.

CANTONESE- Has been a stunning revelation in the hands of new trainer Bjorn Baker. I for one sat up and took notice of him 8 starts ago at Hawkesbury, when he won by 11L over 2000m and broke 2 minutes for 2000m, something rarely seen on Australian racetracks. Since then he has failed to disappoint with a further 5 wins, 2 placings and a 4th (beaten less than a length) He is somewhat reminiscent of the top weight in this. 2400m was a huge question mark for him last start but he silenced the doubters in no uncertain fashion, leading at a solid clip and careering away in the straight. It was breathtaking and considering it was his 13th run in this campaign, a testament to his constitution, and a worthy prelude to taking on this capacity field on the other side of the Continent.
This is a much different race to that in which he has been racing though, and there could be considerably more pressure on him up front. He is 1/7 in fields or 11 or more and 6/14 with less runners than that. We saw what happened to Glencadam Gold in the Melbourne Spring when he raced in more competitive staying events, albeit in much higher grade. He has had to adapt to warmer weather and it can be very difficult for Eastern States horses to acclimatise and perform to expectations in Perth. But if any horse can do it he can. I’m surprised that he isn’t favourite here and there is no doubt he is a winning hope with only 1kg over the minimum.

CHESTER ROAD- Scratched

BRIDGESTONE- Certainly rates as a chance here given he can run the distance (2nd in a WA Derby), drops in weight, has drawn well, & did win the ATA Stakes en route, historically a good reference thus far. A lot to like about him and definitely has to go into multiples. There may be a couple around his weight that could get the better of him, but that assumption definitely isn’t conclusive.

DREAMAWAY- is 2/2 this track and distance and drops considerably in weight on recent performances. The problem is though those performances have been below par and it is 11 starts now since she ‘greeted the judge’. She has drawn very wide too, which only makes it more unlikely that she can improve enough to figure.

GLOBAL FLIRT- is well and truly in my top 3 chances here. He is yet to run beyond 2200m but his win 2 starts ago at that distance was meritorious, left a sitting shot for the likes of Bridgestone & Moonlight Bay, yet he dug deep to outstay that pair. Last start in the ATA he drew wide and connections elected to drop him out last, not his usual racing pattern. He charged home from that position on the turn though, and my judgement is that another 100m would have seen him victorious over Bridgestone. I think he has the edge over that horse stamina wise, he doesn’t know how to run a bad race, and can be placed to advantage in the run from an inside barrier. Gets a 6kg weight drop here and is terribly hard to beat at value double figure odds.

LOPOV- Looks tested here on the ordinary form he has shown this campaign. Can certainly run the distance and prove a nuisance at some stage to the on pacers though. A wide barrier is no help to him and he is yet to figure at this track from 4 starts. Needs to improve significantly, and only the massive weight drop from his last 3 starts offers any encouragement.

MOONLIGHT BAY- Another well in at the weights but her 0/3 with no placings at the distance isn’t comforting. She is widely drawn to make things that little bit more difficult. Weight drop might assist but hard to see her turning the tables on others with that same factor in their favour.

POP CULTURE- Has been meticulously prepared with this race in mind it would seem. No doubt her form is good enough to win this when you consider she meets Mr Moet 3.5kg better for 0.7L defeat in the Kingston Town Stakes WFA on December 8. When you factor in she was over a month between runs there, (certainly not ideal) it adds further merit to that performance and more evidence to suggest she can turn the tables on him. The option was there for her to run in the Cox Stakes but the trainer was determined to not give her a gut buster against the older horses, instead running her against her own age in the St. Leger on the same day. She won that comfortably, never really in doubt, possibly the ideal preparation in view to her peaking for this. Her time on the day in comparison to the same distance Cox is quite damning though, being 3 seconds inferior, and whether that soft run costs her tomorrow is the big question. On the positive side though she is a 4yo mare, down in weight, is well in for an Oaks winner, and hasn’t been overtaxed this preparation. Also notable that her Oaks win came off a faster run race than the Derby run 2 weeks later, 2 seconds faster in fact. She ran in both races and it really does seem she was undone by a slow pace against the males that day,taken back from a wide alley and not getting an opportunity to reel in the leaders. She beat home another filly The Social Network in the Oaks but was well astern of her in the Derby after that filly had had a run in between. That suggests to me that Pop Culture would prefer a fast run race and thus was disadvantaged in the St. Leger and still won. She should get a solid enough tempo in this race to suit, and badly needs it to negate the outside barrier in this field. That could be her nemesis, but on the other hand the field could spread out off a fast pace and history suggests not to get too hung up about a wide draw in this race.

SHAMARDASHING- Is another lightweight chance who has possibly done enough to figure in a tough race. I’ve got to say I was a bit disappointed in his Cox Stakes run though and he isn’t the most reliable conveyance doing the rounds. His best form is when some give has been in the track and that isn’t likely to transpire. Interesting his mother Beaux Art is one of the best staying mares Perth has ever produced, but a pity he hasn’t quite lived up to her billing. The stable are keen but I’m thinking the barrier also makes his task that little bit too hard.

STARLIGHT LADY- Has been up since April this year and the stable have been spacing her races, probably with a view to making it to this race. She gets the coveted rails alley here and some weight relief to assist her but her last performance was poor in comparison to Global Flirt who was aside her on the turn. He drops 3kg more in weight than her so it’s hard to see her turning things around on him, or Bridgestone for that matter.

TALENT SHOW- Gets a run here with the scratching of Chester Road and has some hope given her good run in the Cox Stakes, albeit a great run in transit. She failed to beat home Global Flirt 2 starts ago though in receipt of 1kg and possibly won’t run the 2400m out as well as him. One for multiples perhaps.

BIG JOSH (EM)- Was probably a better run than TS in the Cox which adds further credence to the formline of the ATA runners in this, seeing he looks to have a slightly inferior formline to the likes of Global Flirt & Bridgestone. He should run the 2400m right out but his 1 win from 17 at this track doesn’t exactly convince you that he is a leading hope. Well drawn and if he gets a run could threaten the placegetters.

BATTLE EMBLEM (EM)- Has been struggling for form in the WFA races and on that last run he does seem to be making up the numbers here, if he indeed gets a run. A likely on pacer if he does so wise to beat that in mind.

MALAIKA (EM)- Not likely to get a run here. Respectable in the Cox but her atrocious record at this track has cost her a spot in the starting line up.

Summary;

I’ve settled on POP CULTURE who just looks to have had the perfect preparation for this. She is probably a superior mare to Western Jewel who won this last year and was terribly unlucky not to do so the year before. She is weighted to beat Mr Moet on her run in the Kingston Town. The barrier is of some concern because i’m pretty sure connections will want to go forward on her. Given that a solid pace could be her only hope of getting some cover in the race. If she gets it she will take no end of beating in all probability. There is $9 available which is more than good enough for my liking.

Next best either Global Flirt or Cantonese who are both huge winning chances for the reasons outlined. Mr Moet is difficult to knock and with a soft run in transit can win. The weight is not good historically or analytically though and his odds are unders atm. Bridgestone should go well and if there were to be an upset it could come from Lords Ransom who has that compelling distance statistic in his resume.

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