Michael Maroney’s British import Aktau has booked his ticket to the Caulfield Cup on October 17 after beating home a talented field of stayers to win Saturday’s $350,000 Mornington Cup (2400m).
The four-year-old gelding was fresh from a win at Caulfield over 2000m in late February and was installed as the second elect behind fellow British raider Just Benjamin in the market.
Punters were left with a nervous wait as Aktau found himself in a tough spot coming into the straight sitting at the very rear of the field, but jockey Jye McNeil did a fantastic job shuffling over from the rail to nab a win at the line.
“To come from that far back, it was a good speed throughout and the turn of foot he showed was just brilliant” stable representative Jack Turnbull told Racing.com.
“We bought him as a Cup prospect and now he’s got that ticket into the Spring. He’s naturally going to get better with time. If you look at him here he’s just so raw and a gawky bugger, so the longer the better for him. But to do this now in this initial preparation is just fantastic.”
Ladbrokes bookmakers have already acted accordingly by including Aktau as a $31.00 chance in their Caulfield Cup market.
Master of Wine, who won the Group 3 Sky High Stakes at Rosehill last week, remains the favourite at $11.00 ahead of Finche and defending Japanese stayer, Mer De Glace.
For now, though, Turnbull said Aktau will take a well-deserved spell from a prep that dates back to December.
“He’s off to the paddock for a well-earned rest. He’s been going since the Spring Carnival when he came over and he’s done a marvellous job to win this,” Turnbull went on to say.
Saturday’s second place-getter Inverloch also gained some admirers after sitting up on the speed from the jump. Trent Bussutin’s Irish raider helped set a cracking tempo behind Hush Writer, but had his pocket picked right on the line.
Ladbrokes’ complete Caulfield Cup market can be viewed here.