The 2014 Doomben Cup field and barrier draw has been released; with ten gallopers set to contest the Group 1 event in Brisbane this weekend.
Headlining the Doomben Cup field is triple Group 1 winner Streama, who may be having her final race start in the $500,000 before heading to the breeding barn at the end of the racing season.
Streama (barrier eight) made a slow start to her 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and failed to fire in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 12, but returned to a semblance of her best form with a fourth place finish in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at the same venue before returning to the winners stall in the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 3.
The Stratum mare has the opportunity to win her fourth Group 1 win in the Doomben Cup and both trainer Guy Walter and jockey Blake Shinn have been delighted with the work of the five-year-old in the lead-up to the weight-for-age event this weekend.
The only other Group 1 winner in the 2014 Doomben Cup field is Peter Moody-trained Fat Al, who won the 2012 Epsom Handicap (1600m) when he was prepared by Gai Waterhouse.
Fat Al has been unable to replicate that form for the Moody stable and is expected to start at long odds when he jumps from barrier nine with Chris Munce on his back in the Doomben Cup this weekend.
The Al Maher gelding will be joined in the race by stablemate Floria, who will be returning to Group 1 level for the first time since she finished an unlucky sixth behind Red Tracer in the Myer Classic during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
The best-backed runner in 2014 Doomben Cup betting markets has been Team Hawkes-trained Leebaz and he is set to receive a dream run into the race in his Group 1 debut after drawing barrier two.
Leebaz was set for the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, but missed out on a start in the race after he finished second behind Weary in the Group 3 Doncaster Prelude (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 5 before returning to winning form in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) on May 3.
Another galloper taking winning form into the Doomben Cup is Akzar and the imported stayer will be ridden by jockey Brad Rawiller from barrier six when make his Group 1 debut on Saturday.
Akzar has been a revelation since he joined the stable of Darren Weir in January and stamped himself as a leading contender for the Doomben Cup with credible second place finishes behind Our Voodoo Prince and a dominant six lengths win in the Listed Warrnambool Cup (2350m) on May 1.
Chris Waller won last year’s Doomben Cup with Beaten Up and is a chance of scoring back-to-back wins in the race after including Junoob and Moriarty in the acceptances for the race.
Junoob (barrier three) was well-backed in the lead-up to the Hollindale Stakes, but could finish no better than fourth, while Moriarty (barrier seven) worked home fairly to finish fifth.
Also backing up from the Hollindale Stakes will be tough gelding Mr O’Ceirin (barrier ten) who finished second behind Streama in the Group 2 event.
Mr O’Ceirin was given the perfect ride by Glen Boss in the Hollindale Stakes and the leading hoop will be aiming to catch out his rival jockeys again in the Doomben Cup this weekend.
The 2014 Doomben Cup field is rounded out by Kris Lees-trained imported galloper Slow Pace (barrier five) and talented mare Angel Of Mercy (barrier four), who impressed onlookers with a strong piece of work yesterday.