Former New Zealand Group 1 winner Puccini will go around in the Group 2 $250,000 Pages Event Equipment Hire Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday even though he has questionable wet track form.
Puccini ran one of his better races since joining the all-conquering Darren Weir stable when one length second to stablemate Real Love in the Group 3 $125,000 Channel Seven Premier’s Cup (2200m) at Doomben last Saturday.
And although Weir is pleased with the way the five year old has come through last week’s run, he has his doubts about his wet track ability.
“The little worry there. We were having a look at his wet form and he hasn’t done much on the wet but he has had a great week,” Weir told racing .com.
“They have had a bit of rain up there too but he will be going around.”
Puccini’s record shows that he has won once on soft ground from nine attempts and unplaced at his only run on a heavy track.
The Eagle Farm track is holding its first race meeting since August 2014 when it was closed for a total reconstruction of the course proper, but it’s reopening looks set to be marred by some heavy rain that is predicted to hit South East Queensland on Saturday.
The Bureau Of Meteorology has forecast showers on Friday in the Brisbane region followed by thunderstorms and heavy rain on Saturday, with up to 100mm predicted in some areas.
The Eagle Farm track was rated a soft 5 on Friday afternoon but with more rain on the way, it is certain to be downgraded on race morning.
Weir was glad to see Puccini back among the prizemoney after he failed to beat a runner at his previous start when twelfth to Leebaz in the Group 2 $358,000 All-New Jaguar F-Pace A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 7.
Puccini was a dual Group 1 winner in New Zealand under the care of Matamata trainer Peter McKay before being transferred to the Weir stable at the end of the 2015 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
McKay prepared Puccini to win the 2014 Group 1 NZ$750,000 TV3 NZ Derby (2400m) at Ellerslie and then claimed his second Group 1 win in the NZ$200,000 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham on January 25, 2015.
The field for the Eagle Farm Cup has been reduced to seven runners with the scratching of Provocative who will take her place the Group 1 $500,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2400m).
The Tony Pike trained Provocative was originally listed as the first emergency for the Queensland Oaks but gained a spot in the main field when South Australian filly Beluga Blue had to be withdrawn after suffering a minor leg injury.
Kerrin McEvoy has retained the mount on Puccini who is well in the betting for the Eagle Farm Cup and is marked at $5.50 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Kiwi four year old Volkstok’N’Barrell has been installed the favourite and is currently showing $2.40, just ahead of the David Vandyke trained Maurus at $3 while Lord Mayor’s Cup winner Mighty Lucky is also under double figures at $5.
Eagle Farm Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.40 Volkstok’N’Barrell, $3 Maurus, $5 Mighty Lucky, $5.50 Puccini, $21 Adirondack, $26 Col ‘N’ Lil, $51 Snapper.