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Image: Bruno Cannatelli
Harlem has won the last two editions of the G1 Australian Cup

AUSTRALIAN CUP

Run at Flemington over 2000m, $1.5 million, weight-for-age

HISTORY

* First run in 1863 when won by Barwon

* Weight-for-age since 1979 except for 1982-86. 1863-1942 run over 18 furlongs, 1943-62 over 17 furlongs 110 yards, 1963 over 14 furlongs, since 1964 been run at 10 furlongs (2000m)

NOTABLE WINNERS

* Tim Whiffler (1867); Malua (1886); Grand Print (1964); Craftsman (1965-66); Gay Icarus (1971); Leilani (1975); Ming Dynasty (1978-80); Dulcify (1979); Hyperno (1981); Bonecrusher (1987); Dandy Andy (1988); Vo Rogue (1989-90); Better Loosen Up (1991); Let’s Elope (1992); Durbridge (1994); Saintly (1996); Octagonal (1997); Northerly (2001, 2003); Makybe Diva (2005); Zipping (2010); Fiorente (2014); Preferment (2016); Humidor (2017); Harlem (2018, 2019)

TALKING POINTS

* Bart Cummings holds the record with 13 victories

* David Hayes with four runners – Harlem, Fifty Stars, Cape of Good Hope and Constantinople – has four wins to his credit, including Harlem in 2018 and 2019.

* Jockey Tom Hales won the race eight times during the 1800s

* Harlem is aiming to be the first to win the race three years in a row. Vo Rogue went close, beaten by Dandy Andy in 1988 before winning in 1989 and 1990

* Avilius started $1.65 favourite last year finishing fifth. He is favourite again while Harlem has been unfancied by punters winning at $61 then $31 in the past two years

* Jamie Kah is the only female jockey to win, riding Harlem in 2019. She rides the gelding again

* Only six mares have won the race since 1964. Miss Siska attempts to become the first since Makybe Diva (2005)

* Oldest winners: Yootha (1969) and Zipping (2010) aged 8. Suzuka Devious (9) is this year’s oldest runner

* Makybe Diva (2005) holds the race record of 1.58.7

* Vow And Declare (winner), Constantinople (13th), Mirage Dancer (14th) and Southern France (19th) ran in last year’s Melbourne Cup

WHAT THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING

“We’re looking forward to him being the hunter rather than the hunted on Saturday” – James Cummings, the trainer of Avilius

“He’s flying and all his work suggests he’s improved. He’s structurally very sound. He’s an eight-year-old now but everything looks like it’s firing very well. He’ll run a great race” – Harlem’s co-trainer Ben Hayes

“He was great last start against the bias and the 2000 metres on the big track looks ideal. Anywhere between 2000 and 2400 metres is his go” – co-trainer Trent Busuttin on Mirage Dancer

“He loves Flemington and loves 2000 metres, he was very competitive in the Turnbull Stakes so I’m sure he’s a live chance” – Danny O’Brien, trainer of Melbourne Cup winner Vow And Declare

 
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