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Hunter Cup preview

Last week in the Victoria Cup, we saw aggressive early driving from Dexter Dunn simply pinch the race on Christen Me as nobody else was prepared to take him on. That's part and parcel of shorter races, particularly at feature level, but extended to 3280m, it's a whole different ball game. The Hunter Cup is the supreme staying test of harness racing in Australia, and the cream from NZ cross the Tasman for it as well - in fact they dominate the betting.

Returning to the blog this week is aspiring young racecaller Luke Humphreys, @WorldRacingLuke.


Del-Re National Food Group Hunter Cup
Group 1, 3280m
Standing Start, no handicaps. Seven across the front.
2130 local time, 1030 GMT

Form Guide with links to replays

Latest markets

1 PHILADELPHIA MAN: Good enough when 5th in last week’s G1 Victoria Cup after having a soft run. One start from the stand and that was a 2nd in the G2 Shepparton Gold Cup which was disappointing but he began well that night. Draw could be good or ordinary. Each-Way.

2 ARDEN ROONEY: Probably didn’t quite finish it off in the Pure Steel last week after having a soft run. Good horse but doubt it tonight.

3 ADORE ME: Absolutely fantastic run in last week’s G1 Victoria Cup when coming from well back to run 3rd. Perfect draw tonight and is suited to this distance range as she won the G1 New Zealand Cup in November in great style. She’s bidding to become the first mare to win the Hunter Cup since Blossom Lady in 1994/95. The one to beat.

4 CHRISTEN ME: Winner of this race last season and also this season’s G1 Miracle Mile and last week’s G1 Victoria Cup. You don’t see horses lead all of the way very often when racing against the best but he did that last week, Mind you he was entitled too after getting very easy sectionals and to be honest I think he should have won by a bit more after getting those sectionals, even though he was eased down a bit late. Different ball game this week as he is a query over this distance and he won’t find the front easy. A chance but not the best chance.

5 RESTREPO: Never in the race last week in the G1 Victoria Cup but he did lose ground on Adore Me (3), when both came from the same type of spot, in the closing stages. He’s a hard horse to catch. Each-Way.

6 UNCLE WINGNUT: Had every chance in last week’s Pure Steel. Ordinary draw but began well last week but it won’t be tonight.

7 FLAMING FLUTTER: Did as good as he could when 4th in G2 Shepparton Gold Cup two weeks ago. Before that runner-up to Guaranteed (11) in G1 South Australian Cup. Poor draw but pinged the tapes in the G2 Shepparton Gold Cup at the start, place chance.

8 EASY ON THE EYE: Bit wayward when winning the G3 Goulburn Cup last start but did have an easy time of it. Poor draw, wouldn’t think so.

9 IM CORZIN TERROR: Not too bad in last week’s G1 Victoria Cup. Good run in this race last season but has drawn poorly. He good be a little smokey. Not the worst.

10 WASHMEPOCKETS: Has been an absolute little champion for his connections and it’s great to see him in a race of this calibre. Not too bad in the Pure Steel last week but he is a place chance only from a poor draw.

11 GUARANTEED: Had to do all the work in last week’s G1 Victoria Cup and just weakened up the home straight to finish 4th. One of the best horses in the race but unfortunately, for his case, his drawn poorly again. He’ll need luck from the draw but he’s a chance in anything.

12 FRANCO LEDGER: Outsprinted in last week’s G1 Victoria Cup. Much better suited to this type of racing, evidenced by his G2 Shepparton Gold Cup victory two weeks later. Poor draw though so Each-Way at best.

13 TERROR TO LOVE: Never ever in the race in last week’s G1 Victoria Cup but he ran the quickest last quarter of 26.47 and the quickest last mile of 1:53.3 and the quickest last half of 53.68. Again he has drawn poorly but I reckon he will make a move mid-race and we all know what he did to Christen Me (4) in the G1 Cranbourne Pacing Cup over the long trip. Three times’ a winner of the G1 New Zealand Cup. The draw won’t stop him, right in it.

14 SMUDGE BROMAC: Another horse who has been a little champion for his connections. Great to see him in this race and was very gallant when 2nd in the Pure Steel last week. Poor draw tonight though and probably a place.

TOP PICK: ADORE ME (3) has drawn perfectly for her Hunter Cup assignment and was brilliant when charging home for 3rd in last week’s G1 Victoria Cup. She was awesome when winning the G1 New Zealand Cup last November over this type of distance range and even though she’s a mare she’s good enough to cop pressure and lead all of the way.

DANGER: TERROR TO LOVE (13) ran the quickest last mile, half and quarter in last week’s G1 Victoria Cup when never ever in the race. Like last week he has again drawn poorly but this race will be much more up his alley, compared to last week. He’s a three time winner of the G1 New Zealand Cup and he’ll be put into the race this time. A champion stayer, a champion horse, in it.

OTHERS: GUARANTEED (11) is a G2 Kilmore Cup winner over this distance range and did that in tough style last October. A gallant 4th after working in last week’s G1 Victoria Cup and has a chance. CHRISTEN ME (4) won last week’s G1 Victoria Cup but absolutely everything went right. He won’t get it as easy as that tonight but did win this race last season and can do it again. IM CORZIN TERROR (9) wasn’t too bad last week and is the roughie of the race. RESTREPO (5) was also never in the race last week and has drawn okay as well. PHILADELPHIA MAN (1) has drawn in either a good spot or a bad spot but is racing consistently. FRANCO LEDGER (12) is much better suited to this type of racing but draws poorly. FLAMING FLUTTER (7) is racing in career best form but draws poorly. It will be hard for WASHMEPOCKETS (10) but he won’t totally disgrace himself. So to SMUDGE BROMAC (14). ARDEN ROONEY (2), UNCLE WINGNUT (6) and EASY ON THE EYE (8) will find this too tough.

SELECTIONS: ADORE ME (3), Terror To Love (13), Guaranteed (11), Christen Me (4).

RATINGS: 3/ 13/ 11/ 4/ 9/ 5/ 1/ 12/ 7/ 10/ 14/ 2/ 6/ 8



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