Punters believe Gai Waterhouse will take out consecutive Australia Day Cups this Saturday at Randwick with her sole representative in this year’s race Danas Best, the early favourite for the feature event despite an early drift in betting ($3.00 out to $3.60). The move was largely due to punters being quick to take the $4.80 on offer about Oriental Lady who ran an eye-catching second in the Gosford Cup a fortnight ago, just as Wazn did before he claimed the 2012 Australia Day Cup, and is now into $4.40. The past two winners of the race Shadows In The Sun and Travolta, have come through the Tatt’s Club Cup and this year’s winner of that race Multilateral is $7.50 for Saturday’s race. It’s a competitive edition of the Australia Day Cup despite the relatively small field with all bar three of the runners quoted at or below a price of $11.00 as of Wednesday afternoon.
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1. PERMIT – J Bowman (3)
Bounced backed from a poor effort in the Listed Christmas Cup, where he finished a distant last, with an improved showing in the Tatt’s Club Cup (2400m) last start, running fourth (1.6 lengths) behind Multilateral. That run was over three weeks ago now but trainer Chris Waller has kept him up to the mark with a 1200m barrier last week. Mixing his form up this time in and it’s been over a year now since he last saluted. At his best would be right in the mix here but hard to take him with confidence in current form.
2. MULITLATERAL – G Schofield (2)
Rounded up a small and average field in the Listed Tatt’s Club Cup (2400m) well, defeating Ghost Protocol by a length before heading north for the Gosford Gold Cup (2100m) early in the new year. He made a sweeping run from a midfield position heading into the turn but the eventual winner Midsummer Sun, who was on the speed and closer to the fence, pinched a vital break. Multilateral finished steadily for fourth (1.6 lengths). Going well and back up to 2400m a plus, as would be any rain before race-day.
3. GALLATIN – J McDonald (10)
A dour stayer, he held his position in the run home when ninth (5.7 lengths) second from a spell behind I’m Imposing in the Summer Cup before contesting the Gosford Cup. He was three back on the fence turning and just had to wait for a moment turning before finding clear room. The 4yo was ok late, finishing fifth (1.5 lengths) behind Midsummer Sun. Last time he contested this trip/track he ran fourth (3/4 lengths) behind Deane Martin in the G3 Colin Stephen. He will enjoy the 2400m at Randwick, giving him plenty of time to wind up. Can figure prominently.
4. ORIENTAL LADY – B Avdulla (4)
Finished last of nine first up at Canterbury over 1550m but her run was better than it reads and she confirmed that by backing it up with an eye-catching run in the Listed Gosford Cup at her only run since, sweeping home from the tail in a leader dominated race to finish second (1 length) to Midsummer Sun. The further trip is a plus and looks spot on for this third up after her first two runs back from a spell.
5. CASINO DANCER – (11)
Iron mare who will be lining up for her twelfth start this campaign which kicked off in October last year. She had no luck early in the Gosford Cup where after being caught wide early, she had to work for the first 1000m to find a position on the speed. She was typically tough late and stuck on well to finish seventh (1.9 lengths) from Midsummer Sun and was then good late in a BM 83 (2100m) last Saturday, running second to Koroibete – who had them all chasing a long way out from the the lead position, and was beaten 1.3 lengths. Honest mare that could jag a place without surprise.
6. DANAS BEST – T Berry (5)
Hadn’t raced for over a year when resuming in a BM 85 (1500m) at Rosehill and connections would’ve been rapt with his fourth placing (3.3 lengths) behind the in-form Vashka. He then travelled to the Gold Coast on Magic Millions day to contest the Stayers Cup (1800m) where he settled in the box seat, one out and one back. Peeled out turning but was dour and unable to establish a margin, finally finishing fourth again, two lengths behind Tinto. Fitter again for the run over a distance but meets some race-fit gallopers here and would have to be at the very top of his game third up from a long break.
7. OFF THE RAILS – S Clipperton (8)
Trainer Bjorn Baker has this Snitzel 4yo going well and he hasn’t missed a place in four starts this prep, the most recent outing being his third (1.3 lengths) to Tinto in the Magic Millions Stayer Cup (1900m). Had every chance last start and stuck on well but is untested this distance and grade and would rather wait until him proves himself at both.
8. PLUTORIUS – J Collett (6)
The 6yo further improved his record beyond 2000m with a determined win over Blazing Dragon – good in the Gosford Cup – at Warwick Farm Christmas Eve before taking his place in the small field that contested the Listed Tatt’s Club Cup (2400m) where he started the 3.8 favourite. Found himself in the lead last start, not his normal pattern, and he folded quickly upon turning for home, finishing last of six and over nine lengths from winner Multilateral. Recent form earns him forgiveness for that run and an improved showing expected here.
9. GHOST PROTOCOL – K McEvoy (1)
Former import has only won one Australian race from his twenty starts but his recent efforts over a distance, which he previously hadn’t been tested over in Australia, have suggested he may soon improve that stat. He finished well to run second to Multilateral in the Tatt’s Club Cup (2400m) and then had no luck in the Gosford Cup as he searched for a run behind a wall of horses in the straight and with clear running, probably earn himself a place. Last two suggest he can win this and rates highly.
10. PLANET PURPLE – K O’Hara (7)
The 8yo gelding hasn’t worried the winners in his past two starts, the Listed Christmas Cup and Tatt’s Club Cup, and finished fifth in both – 19 and 4.3 lengths respectively. It’s been a year and half since his last won a race and whilst that did come over a staying trip, it was on a heavy track and in much weaker company. Can’t have on current form.
11. BLAZING DRAGON – (9)
Loomed up to win two starts back at Warwick Farm over 2000m but was worried out of it late by Plutorius. The Bart and James Cummings trained mare than finished strongly from last in the Gosford Cup and despite was finishing seventh, was less than two lengths from the winner Midsummer Sun. Been defeated in easier races than this her last two attempts at 2400m and just wonder if she does find herself in a winning position, if she has a think about it. Something that can’t be afforded against some seasoned stayers.
An intriguing race with a number of chances as the market suggests but a number of these horses are well into their respective preparations whereas Oriental Lady is still on the up. Like a lot of imported gallopers, she looks set to better her first local campaign after two good efforts back from a nice spell. Thought Ghost Protocol’s run in the Gosford Cup was just as good and that backed up his second in the Tatt’s Club Cup – the two best form references for this race. His form at or beyond 2000m is good enough to make him a live chance here. Gallatin and Multilateral the next best.