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Harlem is already in rare company ahead of an attempt at a record-third straight win in the Australian Cup

Australian Cup titleholder Harlem is already in rare company ahead of an attempt at a record-third straight win in the Group One race at Flemington.

Since the Australian Cup became a 2000m race in 1964, Harlem is the fifth dual winner, joining Craftsman, Ming Dynasty, Vo Rogue and Northerly.

Vo Rogue went within 1-1/2 lengths of a treble when beaten by Dandy Andy in 1988 before going on to win in 1989 and 1990.

Harlem scored shock victories at respective odds of $61 and $31 in 2018 and 2019, but will be shorter on Saturdayt, and is currently an $11 chance.

To be ridden by Jamie Kah who won the Australian Cup on the gelding last year, Harlem will be one of four runners for Lindsay Park.

Constantinople (Glen Boss), Cape Of Good Hope (Regan Bayliss) and Fifty Stars (John Allen) will join the dual winner.

Co-trainer Ben Hayes said Harlem was in better shape this campaign than in previous years.

Harlem ran a first-up fourth to Miss Siska in the Carlyon Cup at Caulfield on February 8 before a fifth placing behind that horse in the Peter Young Stakes (1800m) a fortnight later.

“He’s flying and all his work suggests he’s improved,” Hayes said.

“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.”

After initially taking a fresh approach with the imported Cape Of Good Hope and Constantinople, Hayes said the stable had changed tack, pouring the work into the pair.

Cape Of Good Hope finished last first-up in the Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 22 with Constantinople also failing to beat a runner home in the Peter Young Stakes (1800m) the same day.

Both were trained by Aidan O’Brien before joining Lindsay Park and Hayes said they had adopted the Irish trainer’s methods to get the pair ready for the 2020 Australian Cup.

“We’ve stretched out their work and poured it into them and they’ve really responded well and we expect a better run from them,” Hayes said.

Hayes likes the look of the weather map for Fifty Stars who is the highest rated of the Lindsay Park quartet at $9.

Fifty Stars, winner of the Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday, gained an All-Star Mile wildcard entry with that win with the stable intending to run the horse in both races.

“The weather looks good for him during the week as he loves a bit of give in the track,” Hayes said.

 
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