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Geelong Cup preview

With the Caulfield Cup been and gone, the stayers on the cusp of getting into the Melbourne Cup field will be doing everything to scrape into the field. One of the options is Wednesday's Geelong Cup. It might not have the quality of the years it was won by Media Puzzle, Americain and Dunaden, but it's still an important race of its own.

It's been a while between drinks but Mitch Fenton returns to the blog with his preview of one of Australia's strongest provincial races.

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Geelong Cup
Group III, 2400m Handicap.
Form Guide here

By Mitch Fenton

Website
Twitter: @weekndkngracing
Facebook: /weekendking

MORE SUCCESS LIKELY FOR ANOTHER IMPORTED STAYER

1.SERTORIUS. R.MALONEY – J.EDWARDS
Terrific old tough, staying horse trained in the bush and as tough as teak.

Has twice placed at Gr1, in the 2014 Futurity at Caulfield over 1400m when second behind Moment of Change (no doubt should have won race!) and then backed it up with a third to The Offer in the Sydney Cup later in the Autumn.

Career highlight though was a totally dominant Zipping Classic (Sandown Classic) win last Spring over this trip of 2400m under weight-for-age conditions.

His three runs this time in have been very respectable considering they’ve all been at Gr1 WFA level against Australia’s elite in the Memsie 1st up, followed by the Makybe Diva then the Caulfield Stakes at his latest outing.

He drops a LONG way in class back to Gr3 handicap level and gets out to his pet journey of 2400m. That means he does get the top-weight of 58kg, which sounds a lot but in reality it’s pretty cheap considering the class he has. It’s also 1kg under WFA and he’s only conceding the bottom weight 4kg. So in essence of it all he’s very well in at the weights.

His 2400m stats are by far and away his best of any race distance.

He’s had three goes at the mile and a half for two wins – last year’s listed Bendigo Cup & the Gr2 Zipping Classic at Sandown.
His miss was a terrific fourth in Sydney’s annual premier staying race ‘The BMW’ at WFA.
He was beaten 2.5L behind Silent Achiever, It’s A Dundeel was 2nd with Melbourne & Australian Cup champion Fiorente in 3rd.
Fiorente, who would go on the be named Australia’s Champion Stayer was just half a length in front of him in the end……at level weights!
A repeat of that kind of effort by Sertorious and he’d win this with a leg in the air…His lead up racing suggests he’s going just as well as he was in the Autumn when he pulled out that run!!

Comes up with gate 11 of 13 but Ryan Maloney, who is very underrated , should be able to overcome that with the aid of having the best horse in the field under him.

The one to beat!

2.SHOREHAM. C.SYMONS – S.HASAN
Very honest staying type who was terrific last time out in the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington running the second fastest last 600m in the race and the fastest last 400m in the even. The only horse to run a faster last 600m was Saturday’s Caulfield Cup placegetter & Melbourne Cup fancy, Lucia Valentina….she ran the second fastest last 400m, being eclipsed by Shoreham. So the form is as good as it gets!!

In that race he settled down in last place 12L off the lead, which was 5L behind Lucia Valentina in the run and was beaten in the end by 5L so he ran every bit as well as the horse that was so gallant in the Gr1 Caulfield Cup.

The further he gets out in trip the better, he’s a genuine stayer who posses a more than handy turn of foot.

Hasn’t won in 13 months though and that’s a concern with him, he certainly doesn’t win out of turn. He’s only saluted the judge three times in 25 race starts.

A repeat of his last start effort and he’ll be terribly hard to beat, I just won’t be rushing into take 5/1 about him, or any horse, that has a 12% career winning strike rate, essentially meaning he wins one in 10!

3.WISH COME TRUE. C.SCHOFIELD – P.MOODY
Irish bred import who joined the all conquering Moody stable last year after a second placed effort in the Italian Derby. Has only won one since arriving on our shores, a open 2040m at Moonee Valley mid-winter on a soft track, beating the less than champion stablemate Voila Ici home.

Good in the Newcastle Cup when third, whacking away til the end, but never looked a winner. Flopped last start when up in grade in the Gr1 Metrop, without excuses!

In the year 2014 the Geelong Cup is one of the spring’s feature staying races and is always a good pointer the higher quality races over the carnival, so in saying that I’m more than willing to risk this horse who hasn’t shown enough to suggest he’s up to winning a race of this calibre.

4.ZANBAGH. M.PAYNE – P.PAYNE
Talented staying mare, formerly trained by the late Guy Walter, who ran second in the AJC Oaks, splitting last week's Caulfield Cup placegetters Rising Romance and Lucia Valentina. That’s an amazingly good form reference for a race like this!

Was also runner-up in the VRC Oaks last Spring, beaten ever so narrowly by Kirramosa, despite it being just her seventh start in a race.

Has had three runs back + a trial this campaign since joining Patrick Payne and none of her four efforts seen publicly could give you any type of confidence about her.

She put in an improved sort of effort last time out in the Benalla Cup when third beaten two lengths, but the form out of that race hasn’t stood up at all, with seven horses having subsequent runs and not one of them even placing.

Gets weight relief here..which is a plus!

I’m loathed to dismiss her chances entirely, as we’ve seen how good she is…..at her best. Signs this campaign suggest she’s racing a fair way below that mark, but it wouldn’t shock me if she turned it all around in a big way out to 2400m now. The Caulfield Cup result alone is reason enough to include her in all multiples.

5.MORE THAN SACRED. G.BOSS – R.SMERDON
Emphatic winner of the Gr1 3200m Auckland Cup in NZ back in March, who after that win was transferred to Melbourne to be prepared by leading trainer Robert Smerdon.

Has had two runs in Australia and both have been very good efforts. First up here he was 2.5L fourth in a 2000m race at Caulfield behind Longeron and he improved dramatically from the run… finishing second narrowly beaten by Mourinho in the Cranbourne Cup second up. That form line is very strong with Mourinho having twice placed behind leading Cox Plate fancy The Cleaner in Group races at Moonee Valley. Arguably unlucky not to have won at Cranbourne with the winner hampering him somewhat in the straight, despite no protest being officially lodged.

As proven by his NZ form he gets better the further he runs! 2400m third up suits perfectly, a distance he’s won at three times… he’s down on the minimum weight with 54kg and gets the ‘Spring King’ Glenn Boss’ services again.

Bit of a sticky draw in barrier 13, but it’s not a huge field, and G.Boss is the perfect man to overcome such an obstacle.

Good value, good bet!

6.LIKE A CAROUSEL. C.NEWITT – K.KEYS
Beat Saturday’s Randwick listed winner Mulaqen & Unchain My Heart (a long way back in Caulfield Cup) in the Harry White Classic on AFL Grand Final Day at Sandown.

Deserves a shot at this level of race during the Spring, we all know how good the stable is going, but I’d be surprised if he’s up to this type of grade.

Place at best for mine.

7.MARKSMANSHIP. K.MCEVOY – C.MAHER
A well-beaten second last start in the 2500m Bart Cummings at Flemington, behind a horse that was well fancied by many in the Caulfield Cup, Who Shot Thebarman….Didn’t measure up to the top level that horse but he did run admirably beaten only 4L in Australia’s premier mile and a half race.

I’d suggest he’d need a slow to heavy track to be competitive here, having never won a race on good or dead ground.

8.CARAVAN ROLLS ON. C.WILLIAMS – D.O’BRIEN
Talented import and winner of last year's Sandown Cup over 3200m in the Spring time. Gun jockey C.Williams rides, but still needs further to produce his best I feel. Not completely hopeless but I do very much prefer others.

9.CORREGGIO. D.HOLLAND – M.JOHNSON
Very, very rough First Four hope. Doubt he’s up to it.

10.OMINOUS. D.DUNN – N.BLACKISTON
Outclassed on his very best form, and is terribly out of form. Couldn’t have him.

11.ALI VITAL. D.GAUCI – R.LAING
OK in the Cranbourne Cup, but that was a career best effort. Hard to see him making the massive improvement he would need off that run to bother these.

12.PRETTY BLONDE. D.YENDALL – K.HEALY
Outclassed.

13.WALTZING TO WIN. B .CLARIDGE – D.HUXTABLE
Outclassed.

SELECTIONS
I’ve assessed it as a race with 4 winning chances engaged.
#1 SERTORIOUS $7.00
#2 SHOREHAM $10
#4 ZANBAGH $7.00
#5 MORE THAN SACRED $5.50

SUGGESTED BET: I will be backing all four of them, and playing it safe with a flat stake on each (ie. $25 etc..)…meaning any of the four winning would produce a profit.

In order of preference I’d rank them…..
#5 MORE THAN SACRED, very well weighted for a Gr1 winner and on the upward spiral. Pull in weights against Sertorious decisive factor. Gets 4kg!

#1 SERTORIUS, Is the proven class runner in the race. In good form, but does give the other main hopes good chunks of weight.

#2 SHOREHAM, coming in off a terrific run in a great form race the Turnbull. Poor winning strike rate off-putting.

#4 ZANBAGH, would win and win easily on her best. Hasn’t shown much since transferring stables though, taking on trust after Caulfield Cup result.

If you only want to back one I’d suggest MORE THAN SACRED!

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