Last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Jameka will have to be at her best to overcome a wide barrier draw in the Group 1 $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Jameka has drawn barrier eleven in the twelve horse Australian Cup field with Hugh Bowman having his first ride on the Myboycharlie mare.
Trainer Ciaron Maher has tapered Jameka to peak for the Australian Cup at her third run back in the Autumn and the Caulfield mentor is happy with the four year old’s progress.
“I’ve been happy with her all along this campaign with the way she’s come into work and the progression that she’s made through and the idea is to have her 100 per cent third-up,” Maher told racing.com.
“If you look at her form nearly every preparation she’s had she improves with each run and that’s how I train her and at this stage she’s on track.”
Jameka ran an eye catching first up fourth to Black Heart Bart in the Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 11 and then finished fourth again to Stratum Star in the Group 2 $200,000 Crown Lager Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 25.
Jameka will be taking on Stratum Star again in the Australian Cup and the Peter Young Stakes winner will jump from barrier two with Mark Zahra in the saddle.
As well as Stratum Star, leading trainer Darren Weir will saddle up Peter Young Stakes runner up Humidor with Damian Lane from barrier seven and Real Love for Brad Rawiller from the outside gate.
The Robert Hickmott trained The United States is fitter for one run back from a spell when third to Stratum Star and will jump from gate four with Ben Melham retaining the ride.
Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have Ecuador to represent Tulloch Lodge with regular rider Adam Hyeronimus to ride again and the High Chaparral seven year old will be able to get the perfect run on the pace from barrier five.
Damien Oliver is sticking with Lee and Anthony Freedman’s Exospheric (barrier 10) who is second up into the Australian Cup after running sixth to Stratum Star in the Peter Young Stakes.
The Freedman brother will also send Tom Melbourne around with Glen Boss from barrier three.
Lindsay Park has only the one Australian Cup runner, the in-form Boom Town, who will jump from gate eight with Regan Bayliss on his back.
Boom Time has won four of his last five starts since November and earned a start in the Australian Cup with his win in the Listed $120,000 Ladbrokes Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) at Caulfield on February 25.
Early betting for the Australian Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au has the Darren Weir trained Humidor the top pick at $4.20 just ahead of Jameka at $4.50, Stratum Star at $6 and The United States at $7.50.