Champion trainer Darren Weir takes eight wins into the final day of the ‘Bool carnival and is a great chance of extending that by winning his fifth consecutive Cup.
High Church did the job last year and Weir’s previous winners were Akzar (2014), Tall Ship (2015) and Master Of Arts (2016). Weir holds trump cards in the Cup saddling four of the 13 Cup runners, Master of Arts, Gallic Chieftain, Kiwia and Yogi.
The Cup is just one of the highlights on another 10-race card to finish the massive carnival at the ‘Bool.
The time honoured, Grand Annual Steeple, is another highlight of the meeting. Is there a tougher race than the Grand Annual (Race 7) to start the Quaddie?
Run over 5500m, the Grand Annual is the longest thoroughbred race in Australia and these tough jumpers have to tackle 33 obstacles. They run anti-clockwise and clockwise, turn left on the first lap and right on the second and the race takes over six minutes to finish.
W’bool today rail out 4m 1300 to 300 track soft 5 with a chance of upgrade now rain won’t be here to afternoon marking inside 3m around bend with clean firm ground outside that straight has marking inside 12m. Hard on rail will hold up for a few races then horses with momentum
— Graham Hoy (@GHoy06) May 2, 2018
Many of the horses are on a two-day back-up after running in the Brierly Steeple. Brierly winner Gold Medals (3) is striving for a rare double, but has to go in. The last horse to complete the Brierly-Grand Annual double was Frankoo Verymuch in 2005.
Zed Em (1) was a game second on Tuesday is a quality chaser and is in the mix. I’ll’ava’alf (4) and Monarch Chimes (5) also back-up after solid runs.
A 1400m Handicap splits the main races. Artie’s Shore (6) is trained here and has a great record on the track, recent form is solid. South Australian visitor Arkham Knight (13) ran well at Morphettville last start and should be peaking. Trainer Aaron Purcell’s stable is flying so Siga La Vaca (12) goes in.
Weir’s Kiwia (3) heads betting for the Cup, but stablemate Yogi (10) has had strong backing and prepared to settle on one of those to give Weiry his fifth. Dangers include Berisha (4) ran well at Caulfield and then at Flemington. Drawn wide, but after two days of racing his wide draw might be an advantage. Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Scholarly (13) is the likely leader, toughest test to date, but keeps stepping up.
In the last leg Weir lines-up with the favourite, Fifty Stars (6). The colt, a super impressive winner here at his only start, should complete another stellar carnival for the maestro trainer. If chasing value, Lagerfeld (9) is promising. A slight drop in distance should help Iron Machine (8). Jockey Damian Lane has starred in the saddle, so Deecember (14) goes in on the strength of that and a nice third at Moonee Valley two runs ago.