The 2015 Mornington Cup field has been released and a capacity field of 14 stayers are set to contest the Listed event at Mornington this weekend.
Veteran stayer Akzar has performed well without winning during his autumn campaign to date and he is set to carry the top weight of 59 kilograms along with Team Hawkes-trained Entirely Platinum.
Akzar returned to racing at Sandown on Boxing Day and he is yet to produce a bad performance this preparation, despite taking on strong fields in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 14, the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at the same venue on February 28 and the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14.
The Selkirk gelding has not recorded a race win since he took out the Listed Warrnambool Cup (2350m) in May last year, but he looks well-placed under the handicap scale of the Mornington Cup.
Entirely Platinum comes through a similar form line to Akzar and will be stepping up to 2400 metres for the first time this preparation after running well in the Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m), Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) and Australian Cup.
The Pentire gelding narrowly missed out on a start in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in 2014, but he can guarantee himself a place in the 2015 edition of the race by winning the ballot-exempt Mornington Cup this weekend.
Big Memory, Index Linked and Extra Zero have all been included in the 2015 Mornington Cup field and they will carry 58.5 kilograms in the $350,000 race.
Extra Zero has not been seen at the races since he finished a close second in the Australian Cup, but he is no certainty to contest the Mornington Cup after being included in the field for The BMW, while Big Memory is set to back-up following his poor effort in the Australian Cup.
Index Linked is one of the only horses taking winning form into the Mornington Cup and he has returned to his best after winning the Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) at Caulfield on February 28 and claiming the Yarra Valley Cup on March 15.
Two other horses that will be taking winning form into the Mornington Cup are Genuine Lad and Gamblin’ Guru.
Genuine Lad stamped himself as one of the best stayers in Tasmania with a close second behind Geegees Blackflash in the Group 3 Hobart Cup (2400m) on February 9 before he was able to turn-the-tables on his rival to claim the Group 3 Launceston Cup (2400m) on February 25.
Gamblin’ Guru was given a relatively light spring campaign following his fourth place finish in the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) at Morphettville in May and he was able to return to winning form with a tough effort in a benchmark 90 event in Adelaide on March 21.
Sonntag is the only Group 1 winner in the 2015 Mornington Cup field and connections are hopeful that the step-up to 2400 metres and a return to handicap conditions will help the Teofilo gelding return to his best form after lackluster efforts in the Orr Stakes, Peter Young Stakes and Australian Cup.
The Mornington Cup field is rounded out by Epingle, Gotta Take Care, Banca Mo, Renew, Wish Come True and Like A Carousel, while Vatuvei, Don Doremo and Martinvast have all been listed as emergencies.