Australian Cup Tips: Who history points to winning

Adam Cusworth in Australian Cup 5 Mar 2020
  • Which horse does history point to winning the Australian Cup
Harlem has won the last two Australian Cups

The Australian Cup (2000m) is one of the iconic autumn races in Melbourne, due in part to some of the champions that have taken out the Flemington weight-for-age feature.

Makybe Diva (2005) and Northerly (2001 & 2003) are some of the modern-day guns to have won the Australian Cup and who can forget Lonhro’s remarkable effort to get up in 2004, when recovering from a hopeless position. Lonhro’s dad, Octagonal, is another winner of the race, while the likes of Saintly, Better Loosen Up, Vo Rogue and Dulcify feature on what is a rich honour roll.

In the last two years it has been Harlem that has saluted in the race, joining Northerly as a rare two-time winner. If we take a look at the trends of the race since the year 2000 there are a few things to consider in trying to work out just which horse will join that select group this year. T

he ideal lead up to the Australian Cup has always been the Peter Young Stakes (1800m), formerly known as the St George Stakes. The Caulfield Group 2 race has provided 15 of the 20 winners since the year 2000 with four of those completing the double in that time period.

A further four have finished runner-up before winning the Cup, while six have been unplaced. Harlem turned his form around, claiming the Australian Cup after running 8th in the Peter Young in 2018 and 7th in 2019. Gailo Chop and Avilius won those two races and started as favourites in the Australian Cup but were unable to salute in the Flemington Group 1.

This year’s Australian Cup features a number of runners from the Caulfield lead up including Harlem, who was 5th this year behind Miss Siska. Kings Will Dream (2nd), Mirage Dancer (3rd) and Regal Power (4th) are others that raced in the Peter Young.

But it is Avilius that has been posted as the $3.40 favourite in early markets with sportsbet this year. The James Cummings-trained galloper ran 4th in the recent Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.

The last start Blamey Stakes (1600m) winner, Fifty Stars, is at $6, ahead of Regal Power ($7), Kings Will Dream ($7.50) and Mirage Dancer ($10). The 2019 Melbourne Cup (3200m) winner, Vow And Declare, is a $12 chance, while Harlem is rated as a $14 hope in his quest to win three in a row. Miss Siska heads the rest at $15.

For fans of Avilius, the Australian Cup has generally been a bit of a graveyard for favourite’s with just four horses winning after starting as the popular elect. Humidor (2017) and Fiorente (2013) achieved the feat, while Lonhro and Northerly both started as favourites when they won.

However, horses in single figure odds do have a great record in this race and have accounted for 14 of the past 20 winners. Outside of Harlem, who has won at $61 and $31 in his two wins, those to have started at odds of $10 and above since the year 2000 include the 2015 winner, Spillway ($13) as well as Niconero ($13 in 2009) and Roman Arch ($51 in 2006). Old Comrade upstaged his famous West Australian rival, Northerly, at odds of $10 in 2002.

The Australian Cup has tended to attract the more seasoned horses in recent, years, particularly some of the stayers that featured in the previous year’s Melbourne Cup. Fiorente, Shocking (2011) and Zipping (2010) are among those that came off a Melbourne Cup campaign, which augurs well for Vow And Declare. The Cup winner resumes and is aged four. Horses aged four have provided six Australian Cup winners since 2000, as have the six-year-olds. Regal Power, Cape Of Good Hope and Constanintople are also aged four, while there are a host of six-year-olds, including Avilius.

The Hayes/Dabernig stable prepared Harlem in the past two years as well as Spillway (2015) and Niconero (2009). They also have Fifty Stars, Cape Of Good Hope and Constantinople in the race this year.

The only jockeys to have won the race twice since the year 2000 are Michael Walker and Craig Newitt. Neither are in action this year. Jamie Kah won aboard Harlem last year and rides that horse again. Damian Lane is another recent winner and rides Miss Siska.

The 2000m distance at Flemington, combined with the long straight, has generally given all horses a chance of winning the race no matter where they jumped from. Interestingly, 14 of the 20 winners have drawn out in the second half of the field, while only five gallopers have won after jumping from barriers 1 through to 4. No horse has won from either barrier 1 or 3 since the year 2000.

Kings Will Dream jumps from the inside this year and will have to break that hoodoo. Vow And Declare, Regal Power and Fifty Stars are among those that have drawn double digits.

Selection according to trends:
The Peter Young is the tried and true lead up and Kings Will Dream looks to be the pick of those runners. But Vow And Declare also ticks a number of boxes and can salute back at Flemington for the first time since taking out the Melbourne Cup last year.

Prediction
Vow And Declare $12 Bet now!