Scone Cup 2017: Form and tips for the great country cup

Tristan Rayner Editor

By , Tristan Rayner is a Roar Editor

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    The Scone Cup Carnival has come around again.

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    The Scone Cup Carnival returns this week, as one of the best country racetracks in Australia (or anywhere) hosts its bustling two-day event.

    In a sign of just how massive the carnival is now, a whopping 425 nominations were received for the prestigious meet, which has continued to grow with the hosting of the metro NSW meeting on Saturday.

    I’ve written about it before and will do again – Scone was a great place to grow up and a great place to learn about real horse racing.

    The Friday meeting holds the big Cup, a two-year old dash, a good Benchmark 85 handicap also called a ‘Country Cup’ for some reason, and not a great deal else.

    The Saturday meeting features the big money Inglis Guineas, the Group 3 Dark Jewel, and five Listed races, all for $2 million in prizemoney. In 2013, when I last counted, it was $1.43m in prizemoney. Give it another four years and The Championships might be under threat from within!

    Along with quantity of horses, the class of horse is rising as well. The Scone Cup used to be won by the classic country cup horses – names like Newton’s Rings, Brave Prince – but now more metropolitan horses are coming for the $200,000 Listed race over 1600m.

    The Cup traditionally isn’t a good one for the punter, with winners usually at double-odds, and plenty of upsets over the years.

    2017 Scone Cup form
    A good track is certain, the only question if it will be a Good 4 or Good 3.

    There’s some crucial lead-up races for this event. Six of the last seven winners have run at Hawkesbury, with all of the last 14 winners running between 1300 to 1600 metres in their last race.

    Other useful notes are that barriers aren’t a problem, with the long back straight giving everything a chance in the running. 10 of the last 14 winners have drawn barrier eight or wider. Nothing has won beyond 58.5kgs in weight.

    Looking at the runners, let’s start with last year’s winner, Pajaro. This six-year old gelding is hoping to be the first back-to-back winner since Brave Prince in 2000/01. He looks like he peaks third-up, which he is here, coming off a solid eighth in the Hawkesbury Cup which a number of these horses come out of.

    Against him is that his win last year is his only ever win in 12 starts, with a handful of placings. He carries 1.5kg more than when he won last year.

    Standing in his way is Hawkesbury Cup winner Fabrizio, who looks like one of the classier types to have lined-up. Trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, and going places, this guy can’t be missing from your exotics but carrying 59kgs is genuine query.

    Moher was second to Fabrizio in the Hawkesbury Cup and is certainly a chance of turning the tables. He won three from six last preparation and has a 1.5kg weight turnaround on Fabrizio, but does carry more into the Scone Cup which is a knock.

    Third in the Hawkesbury Cup was Testashadow, a classy type in his own right who won a big money race in the Magic Millions earlier this year. He’s been given little hope of turning the tables after drawing barrier 17 but I like him at the odds even if he rises 0.5kg off that run. Will need some luck.

    Other Hawkesbury Cup runners include equal top-weight Mighty Lucky (7th), Famous Seamus (9th), Duca Valentinois (10th), and Kellyville Flyer (13th). Of those, Duca Valentinois, the Godolphin stablemate to Moher, looks handy and ticks a lot of historical boxes. Older pair, Mighty Lucky and Kellyville Flyer can finish closer as well.

    Chris Waller’s Amavatio is first-up but has had three trials at least. Didn’t do a lot last prep but was racing in Group 2s and 3s so could be capable of something big here and under the radar a little.

    First emergency and in the race is Gai’s second runner, Supply And Demand. He’ll be on the speed and at the weight, and over a trip he won at last prep at Warwick Farm, could hold on for a place.

    At big odds is Singing. Looks hopeless on a wet track so should relish harder ground here with a good grass cushion. This is one horse that has claims around Winx form, just don’t mention that he was last in the Queen Elizabeth 20 lengths behind her. Worth including in exotics at this slightly easier gallop.

    Royal Tudor is a classic Scone-loving horse (7 starts, 3 wins, 3 seconds) hoping that local experience can win, but 1600m might be too far for it.

    It’s A Shamozzle is locally trained and owned and will have plenty of local money on it and did well in the Tamworth Cup carrying 60.5kgs. The big weight turnaround here could give it wings.

    I will risk God’s In Him and Pure Pride, along with the first-up Reiby Red, while import Queensbery Rules is still getting used to Australia.

    If Blood Red Moon wins, and I hope for the battlers that she does as third emergency, I’ll probably swear off betting this race for at least a decade.

    It will be the race that stops Scone, and a real mix of genuine chances at odds small and large in a big high quality field.

    Scone Cup tips: I’d love to bet Royal Tudor if this was a 1400m race, but at the classic 1600m distance and odds I’ll be with Testashadow, while playing Pajaro, It’s A Shamozzle, Fabrizio and Singing at least in exotics.

    Tristan Rayner
    Tristan Rayner

    Tristan is a writer, consultant, racing enthusiast and former Editor of The Roar who has turned the Melbourne Cup into a year-round study via racingtalk.com.au.

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