2012 Geelong Cup: Preview, tips, live blog
The winning horse Dunaden (right, behind) races ahead of Red Cadeaux across the finish line during race seven for Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2011. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
The 2012 Geelong Cup is an open handicap run over a mile and a half (2400m) and is viewed as one of most important Melbourne Cup form races. Join us the lead up to the race for previews, tips and a live blog of the race, with the jump at 4:00pm AEDT.
With the Melbourne Cup just 13 days later, the Group 3 Geelong Cup has become an important lead up race for many Cup hopefuls, both local and international.
First run in 1872, the Geelong Cup has grown in status on the spring racing calendar with the event now attracting $300,000 in prizemoney, up from $240,000 last year.
Many racing personalities have called for the race to be upgraded to Group 2 status, which essentially just raises the minimum prize pool, but some believe it should also hold ballot exemption to the Melbourne Cup.
This may be a means for locally trained stayers to win their way into Australia’s greatest race, however it may just result in another Cup spot being won by a more credentialed international horse.
Historically, the Geelong Cup winner may have their Melbourne Cup weight penalised, allowing them to rise in the order of entry and potentially gain a start.
This was the case for past winners Media Puzzle (penalised 1.5kg in 2002) and Bauer (penalised 1kg in 2008). Coincidently Media Puzzle went on to win the 2002 Melbourne Cup and Bauer ran a close second in 2008.
Trainers also like to use the race as a Melbourne Cup lead in for qualified horses as it does not attract the same field size as the Caulfield Cup and still provides good time for recovery.
The Geelong Cup has been an exceptionally strong guide to the Melbourne Cup for a number of years now, including providing the last two winners in Dunaden (2011) and Americain (2010).
Like Bauer after him, On A Jeune was narrowly defeated by Makybe Diva in the 2005 Melbourne Cup after winning the Geelong Cup at his previous start.
She’s Archie (second in the Geelong Cup in 2003) and Crime Scene (unplaced in 2009) both ran second in the Melbourne Cup in those years respectively.
This year’s field comprises a strong mix of local and international talent. Brigantin (30th in the Melbourne Cup order of entry (OOE)) and Gatewood (40th in OOE) are desperate to win in order to improve their chances of gaining a Melbourne Cup start with weight penalties.
The 2012 Geelong Cup field is:
Maluckyday (#1 58.5kg) the 2010 Melbourne Cup runner up ran his first placing since the Cup when he finished the Bart Cummings at Flemington strongly in 2nd place behind 2011 Geelong Cup runner up Taby.
Thrilling connections with that performance, Maluckyday is already guaranteed a start in this year’s Melbourne Cup (15th in OOE) and will be looking to impress connections again on route to Flemington for the Cup.
Tac De Boistron (#2 58.5kg) this fellow has two important letters in front of his name FR (France). The French horses have had a strangle hold on our major staying races the last two springs and while only a Group 2 winner, it was over Shahwardi (recent Herbert Power winner) last start at home over 2800m.
Guaranteed a Cup start (23rd in OOE) connections will be looking for him to run well and potentially win diminishing the chances of two rivals (Brigantin and Gatewood) winning their way into the field.
Brigantin (#3 57.5kg) probably the most talked about international at Werribee this year, Brigantin is expected to run a big race today and force his way into the Melbourne Cup field.
Although only a Group 2 winner, his victory was over a horse that goes ok in Saturday’s Caulfield Cup winner Dunaden at 3100m in France last year! By all reports he has acclimatised very naturally to local conditions and is said to be an outstanding track worker.
Gatewood (#4 55.5kg) from the red hot John Gosden stable, the British international was luckless in the Herbert Power recently and with conditions expected to suit today, he is right in the mix.
The money for him in the Herbert Power can’t be ignored and with a winning strike rate of 50% from 8 starts, connections will be desperate to see him climb the Melbourne Cup OOE with a win and small penalty.
Exceptionally (#5 54kg) the Victorian mare needs little introduction as she has been in outstanding form since returning from a two month let off in September. Not missing a place in three starts, she is looking for a breakthrough win and penalty to try to force her way into the Melbourne Cup field (39th in OOE). Shahwardi was a bit too classy for her in the Herbert Power and alas she may find one of these a little too classy again today.
Chateau Margaux (#6 54kg) another mare who has performed well in Victoria recently albeit generally at handicap level. Trained by Peter Moody and owned by industry giant Gerry Harvey, her 50% winning ratio from 10 starts shouldn’t be ignored and with luck she could find herself somewhere in the finish today.
She’s not paid up for the Melbourne Cup so her spring could be coming to an end shortly.
Back in Black (#7 54kg) weight relief is about all I can say positively towards this fellow’s chances today. A New Zealand galloper who rarely travels, we did see him run in this race last year finishing a credible 2.5 lengths off Dunaden. Now a 7YO with 9 wins from 60 starts, he was beaten 10 lengths in the WFA Group 1 Hastings Spring Classic last start at home.
Tips: It’s very difficult to find a true speed map for the race given we know little about the internationals racing pattern, particularly Tac De Boistron and Brigantin and the small field size with no obvious leader.
However with plenty of European racing experience, I expect this race might be truly run and Gatewood will probably be more positive because getting back and cluttered up inside several horses at Caulfield didn’t suit him.
Inform jock Glen Boss takes the ride on Gatewood and he would be keen to win and cement the ride in the Melbourne Cup.
From all reports out of Werribee, Brigantin is flying and connections of Dunaden (59kg) fear he could be their biggest threat in the Melbourne Cup (currently 53kg) pending a win today. With a last start win over Shahwardi, the Tac De Boistron camp will be confident of a strong showing and if the race has a fast tempo Exceptionally and Maluckyday could be finishing off strongly.
However time after time the internationals show how dynamic they are first up over 2400m in Australia and this makes them the ones to beat.
- Brigantin (#3)
- Gatewood (#4)
- Tac De Boistron (#2)
- Exceptionally (#5)
Join in on The Roar live blog and tell us who you think will win the Geelong Cup and what their chances may be in the Melbourne Cup should they be headed there next.