The 2017 Australian Cup Form Guide is essential reading for racing fans ahead of the Group 1 feature at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday afternoon.
Some of the Autumn Carnival’s best racehorses have been confirmed in the Australian Cup field and we have analysed every runner in detail, in order for you to find the 2017 Australian Cup winner.
Caulfield Cup winner Jameka will contest the Australian Cup third-up and remains the race favourite, but is sure to face plenty of competition in the likes of The United States, Stratum Star and Humidor.
Stratum Star has returned to terrific form since spring and should prove extremely tough to beat in the Australian Cup, particularly after drawing an inside gate. Breaking through for a maiden win at the highest level in the 2015 edition of the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m), the Stratum entire’s ability appeared to be tailing off through a busy autumn and winter campaign in 2016, but he has returned to prominence in style having won each of the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m), Magic Millions Trophy (2200m) and Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at his three most recent starts.
Awesome Rock was first past the post in the Australian Cup last year, but was cruelly stripped of the title after Preferment lodged a successful protest. The Fastnet Rock entire resumed in spring for a lacklustre tenth in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m), but responded in the best way possible with a dominant win in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (2040m). Finishing fifth in each of the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), Awesome Rock beat a classy field to the line to win the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (2000m) on November 5th. While yet to produce much through two starts this time, Awesome Rock will be suited to the conditions of the Australian Cup on Saturday.
The United States
The United States resumed for a smart third in the Peter Young Stakes, will relish a step up in conditions and is drawn ideally into the Australian Cup field in barrier 4. Undoubtedly finding his best form during autumn seasons, the Galileo entire ran second in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) and won the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m), before finishing second in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m). Ben Melham takes the ride and the horse is a serious chance of winning the Australian Cup.
Group 1 winner Mourinho’s best days are probably behind him and he should simply face too great a task in winning the Australian Cup this year. The Oratorio gelding has finished towards the tail of the field in each of the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m), Group 3 Carlyon Cup (1600m) and the Peter Young Stakes so-far this season.
Ecuador is another horse that has found strong and consistent form this time in and is a real chance of finishing in the first four. Winning each of the December Handicap (1400m) and Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m) upon resuming, Ecuador has hit the line well for third in each of the Group 1 CF Orr Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) most recently, and is looking for a step up in trip.
Talented import Exospheric has reportedly trained on well from his first-up sixth in the Peter Young Stakes and has the notable advantage of Damien Oliver in the saddle on Saturday. A standout performer in some of Europe’s headline races in 2016, the Beat Hollow entire has the class to win the Australian Cup and will relish 2000m second-up.
Godolphin runner Tally has been set for the Australian Cup and will jump from the rails draw in the feature race, with Joao Moreira in the saddle. Tally has a terrific record at the distance of the Australian Cup and at Flemington, but he will have to drastically improve of his last-start seventh in the Peter Young Stakes if he is any hope.
Tom Melbourne is the likely pacesetter in the Australian Cup field and he should have no issue leading his rivals out from barrier 3. The Dylan Thomas gelding has been reasonably inconsistent throughout his entire racing career, but is capable of brilliance on his day. Co-trainer Lee Freedman is confident that the horse is ready for the Australian Cup and believes that jockey Glen Boss will again get the best from the horse.
Boom Time has found terrific form this time in, but is another horse who will need to have improved notably if he is to beat this Australian Cup field. Having posted three-consecutive wins through November and December, the Flying Spur entire placed fifth in the Magic Millions Trophy and was last seen winning the Listed Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) on February 25th.
Consistent gelding Humidor has more than announced himself to the Australian racing fraternity this season and should be right in the finish of the Australian Cup. Fourth in the Listed John Dillon Stakes (1400m) on Australia Day, Humidor has stormed home to finish second in each of the Carlyon Cup and Peter Young Stakes.
Jameka is arguably the class horse of the 2017 Australian Cup field and will prove extremely tough to beat in the race. The field’s only mare following the scratching of Real Love, Jameka broke through for his first Group 1 win in the Crown Oaks (2500m) in 2015, but is a stakes winner in races ranging from a short as 1400m. The Caulfield Cup winner has finished fourth in both the CF Orr Stakes and will be partnered by Hugh Bowman on Saturday.