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Australian Cup preview

The previews for Super Saturday (Australian style) continue with the Australian Cup, and more astute assessment by Manny Galouzis. @mannygalouzis.


Australian Cup
$1m, WFA, 2000m
4.00pm local time (0500 GMT)
Track expected to be in Good 3-4 range.

Now onto one of my favourite races of the Australian racing calendar, the Australian Cup. It has a winners' list just as good as the Newmarket. Melbourne Cup winners in Shocking, Makybe Diva and Saintly. WFA superstars such as Manighar and Pompeii Ruler. The race is probably most famous for one of the biggest boilovers of all time, when Dandy Andy at the luxurious odds of 125/1 bloused even money favourite Vo Rogue. Although we only have a small field of nine running in this year's edition, we aren't short on class with two Melbourne Cup winners and a Cox Plate winner. Here we go.

1. Fiorente

Back to HQ for last year's Cup winner. Looked to be struggling at the top of the straight last start, but he produced that all too familiar finishing sprint to get the prize in the last few bounds. Gai has said he was only about 80% fit that day and should take plenty of improvement from the run. Clearly the one to beat.

2. Green Moon

Hasn't won a race since taking out the 2012 edition of the Cup, he was quite good first up before his condition gave out in the last 100m. He will enjoy being back at Flemington and up to 2000m, but I am prepared to risk him here.

3. Mourayan

About seven seconds after they crossed the line in the Peter Young Stakes, I tweeted "Mourayan #wtf". To this very second, I still feel the same way. I have no idea where that run came from. Ducking up the inside to be beaten a lip at 150/1. If he can repeat that performance, then I'd have to say he is a big chance in this race. I just can't see it happening though. Obviously not the worst 20/1 shot I've laid eyes upon, but I'm willing to let him go around without my cash. Famous last words…

4. Foreteller

I thought he was just fair last start. He does seem to do his best work at 10 furlongs, but I would have wanted him to show a bit more at Caulfield for him to get any of my hard earned this time around. That being said, Chris Waller has made a fool of me many a time…

5. Star Rolling

Very good last start, leading until the shadows of the post. He does face another rise in class here and won't get the same soft lead that he did last time. Pass.

6. Voleuse De Coeurs

Well, she certainly is classy enough, being a 6L winner of the Irish St. Leger, though she hasn't raced below 2100m since her two year old days. I can't have her here.

7. Let's Make ADeal

Very ordinary in the Peter Young, she is 66/1 and deservedly so. No thanks.

8. Shamus Award

Two wins in his career amounting to just under $2.5million in prize money. He is starting to sound a little bit like Phelan Ready (but I hope for the sake of Danny O'Brien and connections he doesn't go another 40 starts without a win!) He certainly made a fool out of me in the Guineas, skipping along in front and putting a gap on the field in the straight. His Cox Plate win was clearly no fluke. He should employ similar tactics here and I think he'll be in front for a very long way. The danger to Fiorente and at $4.50, I think he is about the right price.

9. Thunder Fantasy

Settled well back in the Guineas and finished off quite strongly to run 3rd beaten just over a length. Looks like he is screaming out for 2000m. I don't think there is a great deal between Shamus Award and Thunder Fantasy, so at double the odds I'd be more inclined to back him.

This race really comes down to pace. Shamus Award will definitely roll along in front, but it will be interesting to see how much pressure is put on him by the likes of Star Rolling and possibly the Williams pair. If they go quite hard in front, Fiorente could be unbeatable. I'm not discounting Thunder Fantasy though. Three year olds don't have a great record in this race, but Super Cool and Fiveandahalfstar showed last year that it can be done.

In a 100% market, I've got Fiorente $2.60 favourite, with a whisker between Shamus Award and Thunder Fantasy at $4.40 and $5.00 respectively.


1. Fiorente
2. Shamus Award
3. Thunder Fantasy
4. Green Moon

Recommended Bet:

Something small on Thunder Fantasy each-way, with more the place.

Good luck punters, it's a cracking days racing and as always, there's no such thing as the last race.


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Melbourne Cup preview

I was going to pen a lengthy analytical preview for the Race That Stops The Nation but that was rendered futile when I got the email notification for this magnificent piece of work - Andrew Hawkins' Complete Guide to the 2017 Melbourne Cup. For all the background, all the detail, video links, back stories (read the one about Tiberian especially), go there, you won't find a better analysis anywhere.

So instead I'll keep it short and sharp, which based on the lack of sleep I've had in the past week, can only be a good thing!

AU$6 million
Group 1 Handicap, 3200m
1500 local, 0400 GMT

1. HARTNELL - third last year when looked poised to win at top of straight. Has been 'running more like a two-miler' this prep according to trainer, but hasn't run beyond 2000m either. History isn't kind to horses coming back a second time to win (actually it's his third attempt) especially high in the weights. No.

2. ALMANDIN - defending champ an…