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Former German stayer Lucas Cranach has replaced Americain as favourite after they drew opposite sides of the track in the Australian Cup.

TAB Sportsbet promoted Lucas Cranach to the top of its chart at $3 from $3.60 when he drew the inside barrier while American is in from $3.40 to $3.20 after drawing the outside of the nine runners.

Americain had been favourite since the markets opened weeks ago with Saturday’s Australian Cup now being viewed as a showdown between him and Lucas Cranach who last start scored first-up in the Group Two Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.

The two horses last clashed in the Melbourne Cup with Lucas Cranach finishing third and Americain a luckless fourth.

Americain won the Sandown Classic (2400m) at his next start on November 12 but hasn’t raced since and will be having his first start for David Hayes on Saturday.

Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed drew barrier three while the Bart Cummings-trained pair Illo and Precedence, who was fifth last year, have drawn barriers seven and five respectively.

Illo and Manighar, who has barrier six, share the third line of betting at $8.

Meanwhile, the biggest field in years will line up for Saturday’s Newmarket Handicap after 23 horses accepted for the Group One 1200-metre sprint.

Topweight Hay List remains a dominant $3.20 favourite after drawing barrier 15.

With 58.5kg he would be the highest-weighted winner since Gold Stakes won with 60kg in 1959.

Equal $7 second favourites Rain Affair, who is chasing his 10th win in a row, and Bel Sprinter drew barriers one and 13 respectively.

Foxwedge ($8) has also drawn wide in barrier 17.

Lone Rock ($9) has barrier 12 while Beaded, who was third last year to Black Caviar, has barrier 14 and is at $17.

Oakleigh Plate winner Woorim ($21) has gate two.


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