Trainer John Thompson’s wet track specialists Maurus and Astronomos will relish the soft conditions when they line up in the Group 1 $650,000 Hardy Brothers Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben on Saturday.
The Doomben track was rated a Soft 7 on Friday morning following 22mm of rain for the past seven days but with more rain set to arrive over the next twenty-four hours, a further downgrade can be expected.
A wet track is not going to bother Maurus who is a two times winner on a heavy track as well as twice on a soft surface while Astronomos’s wet weather form is even better with four wins on the heavy and one out of one on the soft.
As well as having conditions to suit, Thompson said that he has Maurus ready to peak at his third in following a first up third over 1400m in a BenchMark 100 Handicap at Randwick on April 15 and a third behind Doomben Cup rivals It’s Somewhat and Single Gaze in the Group 2 $358,000 Attwood Marshall A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) at the Gold Coast on May 6.
“Maurus is just coming right at his third run in,” Thompson said.
“He just peaked on his run over the final stages on a leader biased track in the Hollindale Stakes.
“A soft track third run in will be in his favour and the only worry is his barrier 16.
“He can handle wet or dry tracks and if rain comes then we’ll be hoping the track plays to the outside.”
Local jockey Damian Browne takes the ride on Maurus who has drawn barrier sixteen in the original draw but will move in two spots if both emergencies fail to gain a start.
Astronomos’s form is slightly below his stablemate’s but the prospect of a rain affected track has increased Thompson confidence of a better showing.
“He’s an honest horse who has had a few problems but wet tracks certainly help him,” Thompson said.
“The prospect of a bog track certainly improves his chances.”
Astronomos drew barrier eleven in the original draw with Blake Spriggs in the saddle again following his last start fourth in the Listed $150,000 Lord Mayor’s Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on May 6.
Maurus is the most fancied of the Thompson pair in the Doomben Cup betting with Ladbrokes.com.au listing him as a $13 chance while Astronomos is one of the outsiders of the field at $41.
The Darren Beadman trained It’s Somewhat is holding his spot at the top of the market order at $4.20 just ahead of Darren Weir’s German import Articus at $4.80.