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2019 Australian Cup Runners - Runner-by-runner guide for the Australian Cup

  • 15 runners will contest the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) 
  • See our runner-by-runner guide
Avilius.

15 runners will contest the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington. Two Melbourne Cup winners resume but the James Cummings-trained Avilius is a hot favourite. 

See our runner-by-runner guide. 

1. ALMANDIN (2) - Liam Howley, Damien Oliver, 59kg 
The 2016 Melbourne Cup winner resumes for the first time since running down the track in the Sydney Cup almost a year ago. His last first-up run was outstanding, he ran second and was beaten a nose behind Homesman in the Victoria Cup (2000m) at Caulfield. By all reports, the nine-year-old is flying back at Macedon Lodge so I’m expecting a forward showing.
Odds: $17.00 (Sportsbet

2. REKINDLING (9) - Liam Howley, Ben Melham, 59kg
The main danger to Avilius looks to be the 2017 Melbourne Cup winner, Rekindling. The lightly-raced five-year-old hasn’t been seen since winning the Melbourne Cup 486 days ago. Looking at his international form, the 2000m first-up shouldn’t be an issue, as he beat Yucatan over 2011m at Leopardstown before running fourth over 2062m at York behind the likes of Benbatl. He looks a good each-way play.
Odds: $12.00 (Beteasy

3. ACE HIGH (8) - David Payne, Dwayne Dunn, 59kg 
I thought Ace High was terrific at a huge price last start behind Avilius and Trap For Fools in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m). The extra distance will help and he should be fitter third-up but I’m not sure how he could turn the tables on Avilius. Seeing him run into a place wouldn’t totally shock me.
Odds: $16.00 (Unibet

4. TRAP FOR FOOLS (6) - Jarrod McLean, John Allen, 59kg 
The likely leader in the race is Trap For Fools. He beat home all bar Avilius last start in the Peter Young Stakes. Again, I’m not sure how he turns the tables on that runner but will be making his own luck and should keep kicking. He beat an Irish Derby winner Latrobe over this track and distance over the Spring, winning the Mackinnon Stakes.
Odds: $16.00 (Unibet)

5. VENTURA STORM (5) - David & B Hayes & T Dabernig, Luke Nolen, 59kg 
Doesn’t win out of turn and this doesn’t look his race, he is likely on a Sydney Cup path. 
Odds: $34.00 (Sportsbet

6. HARLEM (4) - David & B Hayes & T Dabernig, Jamie Kah, 59kg
The enigmatic seven-year-old bobbed up at a massive price to win this race last year, defeating Gailo Chop. From his victory last year, he went 14 lengths faster than benchmark, which rated better than Humidor’s victory the year before. He has the talent to be competitive but he must be taken on trust.
Odds: $31.00 (Ladbrokes

7. AVILIUS (1) - James Cummings, Hugh Bowman, 59kg
Avilius is an absolute superstar and seems bombproof. He was underdone first-up and was still too classy for many of these runners, including Sikandarabad and Night’s Watch. He drew barrier one last start in the Peter Young Stakes and it was curtains at the of the straight when he got the split. Avilius really sprinted well, running 3.6 lengths faster than the Group 2 benchmark for the last 600m. Third-up, up to 2000m he looks extremely well placed. If Hughy can get him into clear galloping room at the top of the straight, he will prove very hard to beat.
Odds: $2.10 (TAB

8. THE TAJ MAHAL (3) - Liam Howley, Brett Prebble, 59kg 
The booking of Brett Prebble suggests he probably isn’t a winning chance in comparison to Almandin and Rekindling. I think it’s possible he goes forward and is a pacemaker of sorts for the other two stablemates. $21 on offer seems unders, I had him priced more than double that. 
Odds: $21.00 (TAB

9. MUNTAHAA (12) - David & B Hayes & T Dabernig, Mark Zahra, 59kg 
The six-year-old gelding is a fanacting runner. He was well supported in the Melbourne Cup last year, where he ran an ok ninth. He returned with a trial back in January and again he was ok. That was five-weeks ago, so maybe Lindsay Park are trying to keep him fresh? Respect any market moves. 
Odds: $23.00 (Sportsbet)

10. YOGI (15) - Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Luke Currie, 59kg 
What a win from Yogi first-up, he charged over the top from a seemingly impossible position. It’s entirely possible he is just a better fresh horse as he gets older. It took Blinkers on and everything Craig Williams had to get him over the line in the Sandown Cup last preparation. I couldn’t have him here.
Odds: $35.00 (Sportsbet)

11. SO SI BON (11) - David & B Hayes & T Dabernig, William Pike, 59kg 
I was in the grandstand at Flemington last Saturday and as the horses past me at the 100m, it looked like So Si Bon was going go straight past Fifty Stars. He got shy when saw the winning post and said, nope. He is in terrific form and gets W.Pike on board but surely he can’t win this. 
Odds: $31.00 (Beteasy

12. NIGHT’S WATCH (7) - Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, Damien Lane, 59kg 
The five-year-old gelding has improved lengths in a short space of time but might just be a few lengths off these proper Group One horses. He has been sound without being terrific in two runs behind Avilius this preparation and I can’t really see him turning the tables on the favourite. $11 seems short enough. 
Odds: $11.00 (Ladbrokes

13. SIKANDARABAD (14) - David & B Hayes & T Dabernig, Jordan Childs, 59kg 
Sikandarabad was terrific chasing Avilius two starts ago in the Carlyon Cup. Last start he was $2.10 out to $3.30 but was still too good for Call Me Handsome and Midterm. In his post-race comments, David Hayes wasn’t happy with Jordan Childs going forward and sitting outside the leader, even though I thought it was a race winning move. That tells me they will go back from barrier 14 and he can’t give Avilius a head start and beat him.
Odds: $21.00 (Sportsbet)

14. SOUND (13) - Michael Moroney, Jamie Mott, 59kg 
His runs in the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup last spring were poor and his recent jumpouts haven’t been much better, not for me. 
Odds: $71.00 (Beteasy)

15. SHILLELAGH (10) - Chris Waller, Craig Williams, 57kg 
She was given no chance the way the race was run last start in the Peter Young Stakes, as Trap For Fools went 3.5 lengths slower than benchmark to the 600m, while Shillelagh was wide and out the back. I loved her last 200m, as she ran 11.16s which was the equal-fastest last 200m of the meeting. A meeting that included the Oakleigh Plate and Spright who was charging home and also ran 11.16s for his final 200m. This is an indication that she is ready for 200m and I wouldn’t be surprised to see her run a race at a price. 
Odds: $20.00 (Beteasy


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2019 Australian Cup Runners - Runner-by-runner guide for the Australian Cup

15 runners will contest the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington. Two Melbourne Cup winners resume but the James Cummings-trained Avilius is a hot favourite.

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