It has been ten years since Racing's First Lady first won the Australia Day Cup with ghostly grey Stoway in 2003, and with weight of numbers favouring her, she looks poised to claim a another renewal this Saturday.
Leading the Waterhouse charge in the 2013 running of the Australia Day Cup is Reuben Percival. Waterhouse gave Reuben Percival a short break following the Group 1 placegetters spring preparation and his residual fitness was plain to see when second in the Listed Gosford Cup (2100m) on January 10. In typical workmanlike fashion, Reuben Percival settled fifth and stuck to his task well upon straightening for a respectable half-length second behind the Chris Waller-trained Moriarty. Reuben Percival's Gosford Cup performance was assessed at 113, two pounds above his previous master rating of 111 yielded when runner up in the Sandown Cup (3200m) last November won by Ibicenco. Such a figure augers well for his chances heading into Saturday's Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) at Warwick Farm. It was most encouraging to see Reuben Percival produce such an effort off a freshen up. A case could be made for Reuben Percival to display further improvement with a run under his belt rising in distance on Saturday.
The gelding also faces six of the same rivals out of the Gosford Cup and even meets three on better weight terms despite beating them 16 days ago courtesy of a broad ratings band compressing the weights. Talented in form jockey Tommy Berry stays aboard Reuben Percival and will have the responsibility of negating barrier 14. Berry should get his mount into a suitable position courtesy of stablemate Travolta. The up and coming stayer from barrier 11 is drawn just inside Reuben Percival which should allow Berry to be towed across and take up a forward position just behind the pacesetters. Now the number 1 rider for Gai Waterhouse with Nash Rawiller injured, Berry's decision to stay aboard Reuben Percival could be considered another positive lead. For these reasons, the six-year-old Al Akbar gelding is the top elect.
Of the six horses he faces once more out of the Gosford Cup, it is stablemate Travolta who looms as the main danger. The ex kiwi-based galloper is having his first preparation under the care of Gai Waterhouse and the Handsome Ransom gelding stays under notice after finishing just behind Reuben Percival in the Gosford Cup. Travolta's effort last start yielded a Timeform rating of 102, 10 pounds shy of his current master figure achieved when fourth in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (1600m) at Ellerslie almost 12 months ago. It suggests there is plenty of room for improvement and on the assumption he should be at his peak fifth up from a spell, watch for it here. Expect Travolta to roll forward from barrier 11 and if Kathy O'Hara can stack the field up with some cheap mid sectionals, the four-year-old could take some catching. Meeting Reuben Percival 1kg worse at the weights for a 1.3 length defeat last start isn't ideal, however Travolta has displayed obvious potential and must be respected.
Putting it bluntly, recent ratings suggest the remaining two Waterhouse runners Tullamore and Power Broker appear to be making up the numbers. Tullamore has failed to beat a runner home this season and after he was beaten 11 lengths in the Gosford Cup, aren't expecting any dramatic improvement. On what he's produced so far this campaign, Power Broker also appears tested stepping up to this level.
The winner of the Australian Cup during its past three renewals has been taken out by a runner carrying the limit weight (2012 - Wazn, 2011 - Lang, 2010 - Fairygem). Again in 2013 it may pay to look for some value hopes sitting on the minimum, although in saying that, not too far out of the handicap. Carry Me Bluey and Shadows In The Sun are two who fit that aforementioned mould.
Shadows In The Sun looks like one to watch rising in journey after the Listed Tattersalls Club Cup (2000m) at Rosehill.
The Anthony Cummings-trained Group 1 winner was unable to get a clear run on that occasion until approaching the final 100m however motored home encouragingly late.It is nearing two years since Shadows In The Sun's last run over a genuine staying trip and that preparation yielded a win in the 2011 Group 1 SA Derby (2500m) at Morphettville. His latest outing given a Timeform rating of 100 suggested a return to Saturday's distance range will be right up his alley. Shadow In The Sun's last start Timeform figure was well below his master rating and probably doesn't need to hit that level to be winning this looking at the race from a historical perspective.
The Queensland-based Carry Me Bluey was tried over 2100m for the first time last start at Eagle Farm. Running on strongly from the rear of the field under a big impost, Carry Me Bluey got the job done in the final strides. It was Carry Me Bluey's first attempt at anything further than 1615m and quite simply put, he relished it. Norm Hilton has stepped Carry Me Bluey up in trip once again and there is enough evidence to suggest perhaps the move is long overdue.
Peter Snowden has entered a pair of runners in Warwick Farm's Australia Day Cup on Saturday, including runner up of last year's renewal Yulalona. Yulalona hit the line fairly in the Gosford Cup and with sound third up credentials should be kept in mind. Out of the Snowden duo though, Angelus appeals as the one who possesses stronger claims. It won't be easy for the mare taking on older, more seasoned stayers however her last start third in the Tattersall's Club Cup had plenty of merit and was a clear cut winner at this track over 2100m the start prior.
Overall though, Reuben Percival ticks the most boxes and it appears he is the pick of the Waterhouse quartet in the Listed Australia Day Cup at Warwick Farm.
Back Reuben Percival @ $5.00 in the Australia Day Cup
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