Darren Weir‘s emerging stayer Big Duke has been installed the odds on favourite for the Group 3 $200,000 Hobart Cup (2400m) at Hobart on Sunday despite drawing a wide barrier.
Big Duke came up with barrier nine in the ten horse Hobart Cup field but was still marked at $1.85 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Raven’s Pass five year old is chasing a hat trick of wins after blitzing his rivals by four and a half lengths in an 1800m BenchMark 78 Handicap at Caulfield on December 26 followed by a win over 2040m in a BenchMark 78 Handicap at Moonee Valley on January 21.
Sydney based jockey Brenton Avdulla takes the ride on Big Duke in the Hobart Cup replacing apprentice Ben Allen who was aboard the gelding at his last two starts.
The $4 second favourite Cool Chap has drawn midfield at six and co-trainer Lee Freedman is giving him a great chance of turning the tables on Big Duke after finishing second to him last start at Moonee Valley.
“Cool Chap is a very promising young stayer and he proved that by winning the VRC St Leger over 2800m last season,” Freedman told The Mercury.
“His form this time in has been what we expected and I thought his last run when second to Big Duke brought him on nicely for the Hobart Cup.”
The step up to the 2400m of the Hobart Cup won’t be a problem for Cool Chap who showed his tough staying ability with a dominant win in the Listed $200,000 VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington during the 22016 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
Melbourne Cup winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy is also a huge plus for Cool Chap who has been ridden by apprentices Beau Mertens and Boris Thornton at his last two starts.
On the third line of betting at $7.50 in the local staying mare Geegees Goldengirl who will be given the run of the race by Sigrid Carr from barrier four.
Geegees Goldengirl has found winning form at the right time with a last start victory over Hobart Cup rivals Count Da Vinci and Settler’s Stone in the $50,000 Summer Cup (2200m) at Hobart on January 22.
The Scott Brunton trained Count Da Vinci is well in contention at $8 and has drawn barrier seven with David Pires in the saddle while Settler’s Stone (barrier 3) is marked as one of the outsiders of the field at $34 with Jarrod Todd to ride again.
The Tony McEvoy trained Lucky Lucky Lucky is listed at $13 after drawing the outside gate with Luke Currie back in the saddle while local stayer Up Cups has been marked as a $19 chance to win back to back Hobart Cups.
Top Melbourne jockey Craig Newitt takes over from apprentice Boris Thornton on Up Cups who has drawn awkwardly at barrier eight.