Harlem aiming for third Australian Cup success

Harlem (red cap) will attempt to win his 3rd Australian Cup.

Lindsay Park co-trainer Ben Hayes has warned punters not to dismiss Harlem in the Group 1 Australian Cup despite saddling up race favourite Fifty Stars in the feature at Flemington.

Hayes and his cousin Tom Dabernig hope to provide Lindsay Park their fourth straight success in the Australian Cup, and fifth in seven years.

Spillway won in 2015 before Harlem scored in 2018 and 2019 with Fifty Stars successful last year.

Harlem has not scored since his second Australian Cup victory, but Hayes said it would be a fitting way for him to bow out if successful on Saturday.

“It will be a sad day,” Hayes said.

“He’s been a good servant for Lindsay Park, but he is nine and careers do need to come to an end.

“I know he hasn’t won for a while, but he raced really well through the spring and I think he’s at the top of his game.

“He’s a happy horse at the moment, loving his work and it’s an Australian Cup he can probably win as there are no standouts.

“What we saw in the Peter Young is pretty much the Australian Cup field and they all finished within two lengths of each other.

“It’s any horses race and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran a great race.”

Harlem rounded off his preparation finishing eighth to Paradee in the Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 20.

Hayes is not discounting Fifty Stars’ credentials after he produced an excellent run for second place in the Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last week.

Fifty Stars won the Blamey-Australian Cup double last year and Hayes blamed a minor setback before the C F Orr Stakes, which forced Fifty Stars to head to Sydney for his first-up run, for his defeat last week.

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