The 2017 Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup form guide is essential reading for race fans and punters ahead of the feature race at Eagle Farm in Brisbane on Saturday afternoon.
Some of the Brisbane Winter Carnival’s best racehorses have been confirmed in an outstanding Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup field, however we have analysed each runner in detail to help you find the winner.
Black Heart Bart is set to start the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup a clear race favourite, but is sure to face plenty of resistance from the likes of Under To Louvre, Jungle Edge and Derryn.
Black Heart Bart
Multiple Group 1 winner Black Heart Bart is undoubtedly the horse to beat in the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup field, particularly after drawing the ideal barrier 4. Finishing an agonizingly-close second in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at the conclusion of his last autumn and winter campaign, the Blackfriars gelding has been outstanding this year; running second in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) before winning each of the Group 1 Ladbrokes CF Orr Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) most notably. The horse can be forgiven for his first-up run for seventh in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) last weekend as he was simply ridden too close to the early pace and jockey Brad Rawiller is sure to take a position towards the tail of the field in the Darley Kingsford-Smith.
Under The Louvre
Group 1 winner Under The Louvre will be retired after taking his place in the Kingsford-Smith Cup field and is not without a chance of winning the race at odds. Placing second to Black Heart Bart in The Goodwood last year before turning the tables in the Stradbroke Handicap, Under The Louvre carried 62kgs in the Sports Handicap (1000m) at Flemington first-up on May 6th and while failing to make much of an impact, is sure to have taken plenty of benefit from the hit-out. The Excellent Art entire will look to be close to the speed rounding into the final straight and he will appreciate a step up in distance to 1300m.
Japonisme’s form appears to have tailed off and it would take a big performance for him to finish in the first three of the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup. A Group 1 winner having taken out the 2015 edition of the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m), the Choisir gelding appeared to have been building towards a purple patch of from when he placed fifth in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) second-up this time, but has failed to finish close in three subsequent starts.
Music Magnate won the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 when it was run over 1350m last winter and is not without a chance in this race, if he gets luck in running from the wide and awkward barrier 13. The Written Tycoon gelding returned to the races for a smart win in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes (1200m), but went somewhat amiss through autumn and received a freshen-up. Having arrived in Brisbane for another good win in the Group 2 Victory Stakes (1200m), Music Magnate failed to beat a runner home in the Doomben 10,000 (1200m) a fortnight ago and will need to find cover early if he is to return to winning form on Saturday.
Counterattack has looked capable of winning a Group 1 race through each stage of his racing career and he perhaps won’t be offered a better opportunity of achieving the feat than when he takes his place in the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup field. The Redoute’s Choice entire was completely without luck in his first two starts and there was plenty to like about his run in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) particularly and he looked as though he would have finished a lot closer, had he not had to change courses three times. Having savaged the line for a close second in the Doomben 10,000 a fortnight, Counterattack should prove extremely tough to beat at 1300m and he is drawn ideally in barrier 7.
Clearly Innocent is a proven performer at the distance and is in the right form to be crowned the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup winner on Saturday. Formerly saddled by Scone trainer Greg Bennett, the Not A Single Doubt gelding announced himself to the wider Australian racing community last autumn when he won both the Country Championships Final (1400m) and Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) in succession. Now saddled by Kris Lees, Clearly Innocent successfully defended his crown in the Luskin Star Stakes a fortnight ago and has the notable advantage of Hugh Bowman in the saddle this weekend.
Kiwi Group 1 winner Start Wondering will make his second start in Australia this season in the Kingsford-Smith Cup and has reportedly taken plenty of benefit from his sixth-place finish in the Doomben 10,000. Resuming this year for a smart win in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie, the Eighth Wonder gelding placed second in the Group 1 Telegraph (1200m) before returning to winning form in the Group 1 NRM Sprint (1400m) on February 11th. Having also finished second in the Group 1 Haunui Farm Classic (1600m) before returning to the paddock, Start Wondering may need some luck early from a wide draw, but should be right in the finish of Kingsford-Smith Cup.
Pace horse Jungle Edge will have to jump well to find the early speed from the outside barrier, but he should relish the conditions at Eagle Farm and is another horse who should find himself right in the finish of the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup. The veteran gelding has returned to racing in career-best form this time and followed up a close third in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) with a dominant win in the Group 3 Star Kingdom Stakes (1200m) on March 5th. Again finishing third in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) on April 18th, the son of Dubawi experienced a tough run before finishing sixth in the Listed Wangoom Handicap (1200m) at Warrnambool, but arrived in Brisbane last weekend for a near-three length win in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1350m).
In His Stride
Toowoomba sprinter In His Stride faces a big step up in class this weekend and arguably cannot win the Kingsford-Smith Cup. Posting four career wins and a further ten minors through thirty-three starts, the Rothesay gelding placed sixth in the Listed Ascot Quality (1200m) on April 22nd and was last seen placing fifth in an Eagle Farm minor over 1300m. Veteran hoop Damian Browne will take the ride on the four-year-old and will jump from a good inside draw (barrier 2).
Hopfgarten is a proven Eagle Farm performer, has returned to racing in smart form this time and undoubtedly leads the local charge in the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup field. A proven performer amongst fields stronger than this interstate, the Mossman gelding took up the running in the Victory Stakes first-up and ran a pleasing second behind Music Magnate. Trainer Robert Heathcote is pleased with Hopfgarten’s condition and while conceding that the horse faces a big task, is confident that he will run out of his skin at Eagle Farm.
Three-year-old Derryn has stepped up in class and ability this season and is a live chance of being crowned the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup winner. Returning to winning form with a dominant performance in the Listed Darby Munro (1200m) on March 18th, the Hinchinbrook colt finished mid-pack in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) before posting another impressive win in the Group 2 Arrowfield Sprint (1200m) a week later. Having savaged the line for a close third in the Doomben 10,000, this is another horse who appears as though he will love 1300m and is weighted well at only 57kgs.
Tycoon Tara has steadily built to the task through two starts this time in and appears as though she is ready to peak in the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup. A standout for Peter & Paul Snowden in spring, the Written Tycoon mare posted wins in each of the Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) and Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) and Group 2 Golden Pendant (1400m) most notably. Twelfth in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) first-up this time, the six-year-old worked to the line well to finish fifth in the Caulfield Newmarket (1200m) on April 22nd and has since trialled well.
Egyptian Symbol – SCRATCHED
Consistent mare Egyptian Symbol is another mare who will improve into the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup and could realistically receive the run of the race from barrier 3. Winner of the Wyong Magic Millions 3&4YO Guineas Classic (1200m) in December, the Stratum mare placed sixth in the Magic Millions Plate (1300m) on January 4th and returned for a freshen-up after placing second in the Group 2 Breeders’ Classic (1200m) on February 4th. Hitting the lien well for fifth in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) on May 6th, Egyptian Symbol will look to swoop late on Saturday and is a live chance of winning the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup.
Three-year-old Impending will need to be at his best to win the Darley Kingsford-Smith Cup, but he undoubtedly has the class and is more than capable of producing on his day. A standout for Godolphin in spring, the Lonhro colt has steadily built to the task this time in and has finished third in each of the Star Kingdom Stakes and Arrowfield Sprint most recently. James Doyle will take the ride on Impending from the rails draw.