From Oaks Day winners to 3600m victors and last start jumps runners, the field for Friday’s Mount Gambier Gold Cup has it all. The first Cup on the new Mount Gambier track looks to be a fantastic race with lots of great chances.
It will be less than a week since Olympic Academy’s win at Morphettville on Oaks Day when the 76 start veteran caused the upset of the day claiming the 2000m BM90 race head of the highly fancied Thunder Cloud. It was a huge win for the eight-year-old under the guidance of Caitlin Jones and off that win it looks like he’ll love the step up to 2400m, with Raquel Clark in the saddle on Friday. His going to be one of the warm favourites for the Cup.
The other last start winner in the field is Michael Hickmott’s Azurite who won the 3600m race at Oakbank over Easter. He drops back a lazy 1200m in distance for Friday’s Cup but that shouldn’t bother him too much. Azurite’s in the right stable with Hickmott winning Monday’s Alice Springs Cup with Lieder and when Hickmott has a race in mind for one of his runners they are usually hard to beat.
The visitor from Stawell, Paul Jones and his runner Barry The Baptist must come into calculations after his last start effort where he ran fifth behind Mr Quickie at Caulfield. That runner is the favourite for Saturday’s Group 1 SA Derby and with that in mind Barry would have to be a big chance. The only query is his ability to run the 2400m. He’s only won up to 2000m in his career but is looking like he’s ready for the 2400m now.
Golden Authority is another runner who is in with a good chance in the Cup after running in the Listed Warrnambool Cup in his last start. He finished ninth there but was only 2.5 lengths off the winner Furrion. He’s weighted nicely with only 54kg on his back and Dean Holland is a high quality jockey who should give this runner every chance to claim his second Cup victory after claiming February’s Colac Cup.
He may be eight but Etna is only a baby when it comes to experience with only 16 starts to his name. He finished back in the field to the talented Nashville Sound at Warrnambool and the start prior Nashville Sound claimed the Penola Cup. In Etna’s favour he’s got a fantastic record over the 2400m with one win and four placings from six starts and he has won on heavy going which could be a massive factor with the anticipated wet weather over the coming days.
Interestingly four runners come into this race having their last start over the jumps. Eric Musgrove’s Montauk and Beyond Thankful along with Simon Ryan’s Super Haze and Dormello Mo. They all contested jumps races over 3000m in their previous run and while they will be rock hard fit the question will be, do they have the turn of foot to win a race over 2400m?