Mr Brightside to face eight rivals in Group 1 Australian Cup

Mr Brightside headlines the Group 1 Australian Cup field at Flemington on Saturday. (Photo by Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

The Group 1 Australian Cup will headline the 10-race card at Flemington this Saturday afternoon, with a small but select field of nine runners accepting for the 2000m contest.

Four of the nine acceptors come through the All-Star Mile form line, while Legarto is the only runner that brings overseas form into the 2024 edition of the $3 million race.

Although Mr Brightside was beaten in the All-Star Mile, the Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained galloper has opened as the +130 favourite with online bookmakers.

The son of Bullbars won both the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes and Futurity Stakes in his first two starts this preparation; however, his form at 2000m plus is a query, having raced over the distance three times for one placing.

Closely following the market elect is the All-Star Mile winner, Pride Of Jenni (+170), who led every step of the way over 1600m at Caulfield last time out.

The Ciaron Maher-trained mare will step up to 2000m for just the second time in her 27-start career, and much like the favourite, there will be questions about her effectiveness over the distance.

Last start Blamey Stakes winner, Atishu (+700), has the best record of any of her rivals over 2000m (5:3-1-0) and is undefeated from two starts at the track and trip throughout her career.

The Chris Waller-trained mare was a dominant winner of the Group 1 VRC Champions Stakes during the spring, where she defeated two of her rivals that she will face on Saturday.

Although Cascadian (+800) hasn’t won a race since winning the 2023 edition of this race, the James Cummings-trained gelding finished off strongly over 1600m last start and he will appreciate the rise in trip fourth-up for the campaign.

Outside of the fancied runners, Legarto (+1400) seems to be the only other horse given a chance, as the Ken & Bev Kelso-trained mare returns to Flemington for the first time since her Australian Guineas victory last year.

The Australian Cup will be race eight on the Flemington program and is scheduled to jump at 4:15pm AEDT.

2024 Australian Cup Final Field

Mr Brightside Silks

1.Mr Brightside (1)

  • T: Ben, Will & JD Hayes
  • J: Craig Williams
  • W: 59kg
  • F: 211×2
  • Age: 6YO
  • Color: Bay
  • Sex: Gelding
  • Sire: Bullbars
  • Dam: Lilahjay (NZ)
Cascadian Silks

2. Cascadian (8)

  • T: James Cummings
  • J: Ben Melham
  • W: 59kg
  • F: 349×7
  • Age: 9YO
  • Color: Chestnut
  • Sex: Gelding
  • Sire: New Approach (IRE)
  • Dam: Falls of Lora (IRE)
Vow And Declare Silks

3. Vow And Declare (9)

  • T: Danny O’Brien
  • J: Billy Egan
  • W: 59kg
  • F: 2×592
  • Age: 8YO
  • Color: Chestnut
  • Sex: Gelding
  • Sire: Declaration Of War (USA)
  • Dam: Geblizt
Dom To Shoot Silks

4. Dom To Shoot (6)

  • T: Sean & Jake Casey
  • J: Mark Zahra
  • W: 59kg
  • F: 64×91
  • Age: 6YO
  • Color: Bay
  • Sex: Gelding
  • Sire: Shooting to Win
  • Dam: Princess Rouge (NZ)
Young Werther Silks

5. Young Werther (3)

  • T: Danny O’Brien
  • J: Damian Lane
  • W: 59kg
  • F: 13×23
  • Age: 6YO
  • Color: Bay
  • Sex: Gelding
  • Sire: Tavistock (NZ)
  • Dam: Romantic Time (NZ)
Esti Feny Silks

6. Esti Feny (4)

  • T: Matthew Smith
  • J: Jamie Mott
  • W: 59kg
  • F: 30×90
  • Age: 9YO
  • Color: Bay
  • Sex: Gelding
  • Sire: Pigeon Catcher (IRE)
  • Dam: Ejtihaad (IRE)
Pride Of Jenni Silks

7. Pride Of Jenni (7)

  • T: Ciaron Maher
  • J: Declan Bates
  • W: 57kg
  • F: 12×11
  • Age: 6YO
  • Color: Bay
  • Sex: Mare
  • Sire: Pride of Dubai
  • Dam: Sancerre (NZ)
Atishu Silks

8. Atishu (5)

  • T: Chris Waller
  • J: Blake Shinn
  • W: 57kg
  • F: 18×12
  • Age: 6YO
  • Color: Brown
  • Sex: Mare
  • Sire: Savabeel
  • Dam: Posy (NZ)
Legarto Silks

9. Legarto (2)

  • T: Ken & Bev Kelso
  • J: Michael Dee
  • W: 57kg
  • F: 2121x
  • Age: 4YO
  • Color: Bay
  • Sex: Mare
  • Sire: Proisir
  • Dam: Geordie Girl (NZ)

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