French import Gailo Chop is the only Darren Weir trained galloper among the twenty-six first acceptances for the 2018 Group 1 $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 10.
Weir’s last year’s winner Humidor and Japanese import Tosen Stardom were also both nominated for the Australian Cup but will now miss the feature Autumn Carnival weight for age race and concentrate on the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Weir said that Humidor won’t be defending his Australian Cup title after being behind in his Autumn Carnival preparation and is likely to step for the first time this year in the Group 1 $500,000 italktravel Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
“He’s (Humidor) just a fortnight behind the rest of them,” Weir told RSN927’s Racing Pulse.
“He’ll run next Saturday in the Futurity, go into the Blamey and then head up to Sydney.”
Dual Group 1 winner Tosen Stardom has had one run back from a spell and has taken longer than expected to get over his tough first up effort when eleventh to Hartnell in the Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 10.
“He’s alright now but it’s obviously not the ideal way to start a preparation,” Weir said.
“He’ll be fine but we’ll just poke around with him and probably change plans a bit now and maybe go to the Blamey (Stakes) to give him some time to get over the run and then head up to Sydney for the Carnival.”
Gailo Chop is a winner over the Flemington 2000m when he led all of the way to take out the 2015 Longines Mackinnon Stakes and has returned for the Autumn in winning form with a first up victory in the Group 3 $150,000 Ladbrokes TS Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 10.
C.F. Orr Stakes winner Hartnell is still in the mix for the Australian Cup and was the only James Cummings trained horses among the first acceptances.
Craig Williams was able to drive Hartnell through the pack to record a tough first up win in a blanket finish with less than a length separating the first seven placegetters.
The last two Melbourne Cup winners Almandin and Redkindling are two of six Lloyd Williams owned gallopers listed in the first acceptances for the Australian Cup and are joined by Johannes Vermeer, The Taj Mahal, Homesman and Aloft.
C.F. Orr Stakes runner up Single Gaze is still in the mix as is the 2016 Victoria Derby winner Prized Icon.
2018 Australian Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has Gailo Chop as the $4.50 favourite just head of Hartnell at $6.50, The Taj Mahal at $7 and Single Gaze at $10.
Early betting for the 2018 Australian Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.50 Gailo Chop, $6.50 Hartnell, $7 The Taj Mahal, $10 Single Gaze, $11 Harlem, Lord Fandango, Prized Icon, $13 Abbey Marie, Almandin, Ambitious, Johannes Vermeer, $21 Levendi, Main Stage, Rekindling, Sully, $26 Homesman, Singling, Ventura Storm, $34 or better the rest.
The final field for the 2018 Australian Cup will be released on Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
First acceptances for the 2018 Australian Cup (2000m)
|1||22x12290x1||HARTNELL (GB)||G||7||James Cummings||1||59kg|
|2||111x21402x||ALMANDIN (GER)||G||8||Liam Howley||2||59kg|
|3||0x1401241x||REKINDLING (GB)||H||4||Liam Howley||3||58.5kg|
|4||0x24x45x0x||AMBITIOUS (JPN)||H||6||Anthony Freedman||4||59kg|
|5||x0143150x1||GAILO CHOP (FR)||G||7||Darren Weir||5||59kg|
|6||2x054420x2||SINGLE GAZE||M||5||Nick Olive||6||57kg|
|7||45712x232x||JOHANNES VERMEER (IRE)||H||5||Liam Howley||7||59kg|
|8||6202720×24||PRIZED ICON||H||4||Kris Lees||8||59kg|
|9||1x5x76200x||VENTURA STORM (IRE)||G||5||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||9||59kg|
|10||111×220342||SUPPLY AND DEMAND||G||5||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||10||59kg|
|11||446925041x||THE TAJ MAHAL (IRE)||H||4||Liam Howley||11||58.5kg|
|12||515x2114x3||LORD FANDANGO (GER)||H||5||Archie Alexander||12||59kg|
|13||00x72586x6||ABBEY MARIE||M||5||Michael Kent||13||57kg|
|14||6x515867x2||HARLEM (GB)||G||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||14||59kg|
|15||23x11432x8||SULLY (NZ)||G||3||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||15||54.5kg|
|16||6822063×34||WYNDSPELLE (NZ)||H||4||Michael Kent||16||59kg|
|17||3059x1153x||WHEAL LEISURE||M||4||Archie Alexander||17||57kg|
|18||2x412153x||HOMESMAN (USA)||G||4||Liam Howley||18||58.5kg|
|20||x090x56111||SINGING (FR)||H||8||Kris Lees||20||59kg|
|21||9x12x1397x||ALOFT (IRE)||G||6||Liam Howley||21||59kg|
|22||3x212135x4||MAIN STAGE (NZ)||G||3||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||22||54.5kg|
|23||4339332215||JACQUINOT BAY||G||10||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||23||59kg|
|24||23328×1342||DEVISE (NZ)||M||4||Shaune Ritchie||24||57kg|
|25||204x77x52x||SPIRITJIM (FR)||H||8||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||25||59kg|
|26||49x431x162||VALIANT SPIRIT||G||3||Daniel Williams||26||54.5kg|