The 2014 Australian Cup field has been released; with Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente set to do battle with Cox Plate winner Shamus Award in the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Fiorente is the clear favourite in 2014 Australian Cup betting markets, following his thrilling victory in the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 22, but his task was made slightly tougher when he drew towards the outside of the nine horse field in barrier eight.
Shamus Award fared better in the Australian Cup barrier draw; with the son of Snitzel set to jump from barrier four as he searches for his third Group 1 victory after taking out the Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington last weekend.
The pair will be meeting for the first time since the 2013 Cox Plate, where Shamus Award scored a narrow victory over Happy Trails and Fiorente, who battled home bravely to finish third.
Fiorente and Shamus Award are not the only Australian Group 1 winners included in the 2014 Australian Cup field; with the Lloyd Williams-owned duo of Green Moon and Mourayan as well as Chris Waller-trained Foreteller set to contest the race.
Mourayan (barrier two) was most impressive when he returned to racing with a second place finish behind Fiorente in the Peter Young Stakes and was only narrowly denied his first victory at Group 1 level since he won the 2013 edition of the Sydney Cup (3200m).
Green Moon (barrier nine) battled strongly to finish a close fourth in the same event, while Foreteller worked home fairly to finish fifth; with trainer Chris Waller hopeful that the Dansili gelding can improve on his seventh place finish in last year’s Australian Cup.
One of the most interesting runners in the Australian Cup field is imported Irish stayer Voleuse De Coeurs who will be having just her second start in Australia after finishing tenth in the 2013 edition of the Melbourne Cup.
Voleuse De Coeurs (barrier one) will be contesting her first race at a distance shorter than 2148 metres since she took part in a maiden at Navan in Ireland in 2011, but trainer Michael Moroney is happy with the condition of the Teofilo mare.
Shamus Award will not be the only three-year-old in the 2014 Australian Cup; with Anthony Cummings electing to include Thunder Fantasy in the field for the Group 1 weight-for-age event this weekend.
Thunder Fantasy (barrier three) finished his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a third place finish in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) and has performed well since returning to the races; taking out the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) before finishing third in the Australian Guineas.
Star Rolling (barrier three) is set to make his Group 1 debut in the Australian Cup after performing well without winning this preparation, while Let’s Make Adeal (barrier six) will also be backing up from the Peter Young Stakes.