Victorian gelding Shenzhou Steeds will jump from a favourable barrier eight position when he attempts to defend his title as part of a capacity 18-horse field in Saturday’s Listed $200,000 Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast.
The five-year-old hasn’t won since taking out the winter staying test last year but his form in Queensland is hard to fault.
Shenzhou Steeds may have won just seven times from 27 starts but his record in the country’s north east is far better than that. From nine Queensland outings the Michael Moroney-trained galloper has scored five wins including his seven-length Caloundra Cup romp last year.
Last year he took out the race on the back of an Ipswich Cup win and he again heads there in good form. Not many punters missed the son of Ishiguru’s run in Saturday’s Group 3 Tatt’s Cup where he closed quickly to take runner-up honours behind Rialya.
Taking on the Kiwi-bred stayer is four-year-old mare Anagold who will attempt to follow in the footsteps of Shenzhou Steeds by backing up her win in the Ipswich Cup last Saturday week.
There is a strong New Zealand presence in the field, with a four-pronged Kiwi assault headed by Lisa Latta’s in-form mare Zennista.
The five-year-old is expected to start among the favourites after three consistent lead-up runs including a strong third behind Moriarty and Quintessential in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup.
Also representing the Kiwi charge is Ipswich Cup runner-up High Kin while I Gotta Feeling and Endor rise in grade after showing good form at the Sunshine Coast.
Peter Moody’s Italian import Voila Ici will carry the topweight of 59.5kg and other notable runners include wet-track specialist Rothera and Group 1 winner Zabeelionaire.