The 2015 Hobart Cup field has been released and a less than capacity field of 13 runners are set to contest the Group 3 event at Hobart on Saturday.
Victorian-trained horses have won the past two editions of the Hobart Cup, but local trainers have a strong hand in this year’s race and the local hopes are headlined by 2012 Hobart Cup winner Geegees Blackflash, who will carry the top weight of 59 kilograms.
Geegees Blackflash (barrier three) has been a consistent performer in Tasmanian racing since he made his racing debut in 2009 and the Clangalang gelding has been in impressive form since returning to the races with a win in Launceston last year.
The veteran gelding finished a close third in the Listed Tasmanian Stakes (1600m) at Launceston on December 31 and finished a close second in the Brighton Cup (2100m) at Hobart on January 11 before he returned to winning form with a narrow win in the Summer Cup (2200m) at the same venue on January 25.
Banco Mo (barrier two) has recorded race wins in Victoria and is another one of the leading local chances for the 2015 Hobart Cup, despite being unable to record a race win this preparation.
The Tough Speed gelding returned to racing with a fast-finishing fourth in the Listed Kevin Sharkie Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Launceston on December 3 and finished third behind Geegees Blackflash in the Launceston Mitsubishi (1400m) on December 17 before he finished a close second behind Iggimacool in the Listed Tasmanian Stakes (1600m) on New Year’s Eve.
Other leading local hopes include Tasmanian Stakes winner Iggimacool (barrier 12), the consistent Genuine Lad (barrier 11), last start winner Ollie’s Gold (barrier one) and Max Cowen-trained Player One (barrier eight).
There have not been as many horses from the mainland of Australia entered in the 2015 Hobart Cup as there has been in recent years, but the likes of Pelicano, Garud and Falamonte add additional quality to the race.
Pelicano has not recorded a race win since he returned to racing in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on December 13, but trainer Tony McEvoy is happy with the progress of the Court Of Jewels gelding and believes the six-year-olds run in the Listed Gosford Cup (2100m) on January 9 was better it appeared on paper.
Garud was slightly disappointing when sixth in the Piping Lane Handicap (2000m) at Flemington on January 17, but before that he took out the Woodford Cup (1700m) at Warrnambool on December 28 and has previously been placed at Group level.
Falamonte will be dropping back in trip after she finished eighth in the Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) and fourth in the Racing.Com Handicap (2500m) and will need to improve on her past two runs to be a winning chance, but trainer Robbie Laing has always had a big opinion of the Falkirk and feels she is capable of winning at Group level.
The 2015 Hobart Cup field is rounded out by Jakcorijim (barrier six), Another Lad Al (barrier nine), Perplexing (barrier 13) and Hold Truce (barrier seven).