A fantastic field has assembled for the fifth leg of the Limestone Coast Cup Series and it could be a locally trained mare who takes home Sunday’s Millicent Cup.
The Coonawarra Cup winner Tahnee Tiara has been a model of consistency, running in the top three in eleven of her last fifteen starts. Peter Hardacre’s mare gets the state’s best jockey on board her in Raquel Clark and with only 54kg on her back looks mighty hard to beat on a track she loves. She’s two wins and two seconds from five starts at the Penola track and going off her recent runs at Moonee Valley and Morphettville she looks the one to beat.
While the mare is one on the up, she faces some of the most consistent Country Cup stalwarts around on Sunday. Aaron Purcell’s Stakes placed Zebrinz has run in the top four in his last four starts at Cup level and while he hasn’t got the chocolates in those races he’s never been more than three lengths off a win. Declan Bates has ridden him in his last two starts and makes the trip over from Victoria with him on Sunday.
Throw into the mix, two past champions of the race with Chestnut Charlie (2018) and Hasta La Thomas (2016) along with last year’s runner up in Dance of Heroes and you have a race with great depth. Chestnut Charlie tired late in his return to the track at Naracoorte last start and will improve a lot out of that run. Hasta La Thomas will be hoping for a bit of rain down in the south-east as he has a handy enough record on wet tracks while Dance of Heroes will need to find something from his last start but if he can bring his Port Lincoln Cup form, he could be a chance of going one better here than last year.
The other runner coming out of the Port Lincoln Cup is El Desperado. The four-year-old will have his first run for James Dodgson after transferring from the Will Clarken yard. While he was disappointing as the favourite in the Port Lincoln Cup, he did win the Strathalbyn Cup the start prior. A horse that’s only missed three placings in fifteen starts has to be respected wherever he goes.
The chances don’t stop there with Naracoorte Cup winner Pass the Glass in the field, Grand National Hurdle winner Cougar Express and John Hickmott’s Flow Meter who is looking for a hat-trick of wins.