2019 Australian Cup betting preview

After another dominant performance in the Peter Young, boom import Avilius comes up a short-priced $2 favourite for the Australian Cup. Can the gelding win his first Group 1 or will one of the proven weight for age performers cause an upset?

Jack Zuber
Wed, 6 Mar, 12:00 AM

Race Shape:

The rail moves back out to the 4m position after playing well in the 2m position last week. On pacers certainly had a good go of it due to a nice firm surface. The distance races played more evenly on the day with tempo by far the most influential factor. Expecting the same again this weekend.

Looks a very moderate gallop here. Trap for Fools and The Taj Mahal looks to get plenty of favours up on speed with Ace High at their girth. The other Williams gallopers in Rekindling and Almandin can show speed along with Ventura Storm. Sikandarabad and Sound (formery Sound Check) can slot across with So Si Bon to join Harlem mid-field. The rest will be right back with Avilius drawing very poorly again in 1, unless Bowman pushes up early like last start.


The Key Runners:


1. Almandin (2) - $18*

J: D. Oliver (59kg) T: L. Howley

The 2016 Melbourne Cup winner is a noted fresh performer over this distance range. He hasn’t been seen since this time last year when running just peaking on his run late to finish a narrow second to stablemate Homesman in the Mornington Cup prelude. He then went on to be an absolute tragedy beaten in this race last year, held up for almost the entirety of the Flemington straight he never got a crack at them and still only finished 1.45 lengths from the surprise winner Harlem. This stable has enough recourses not to need a fitness platform at the races. From barrier 2 Oliver looks to get a beautiful run just behind the speed, possibly run to suit by Stablemate The Taj Mahal. Looks good odds, even with the BMW/Sydney Cup in mind later in the preparation.


2. Rekindling (9) - $14*

J: B. Melham (59kg) T: L Howley

The 2017 Melbourne Cup winner hasn’t been seen since taking out the race that stops the nation and is hence very hard to line up. He’s a lightly-raced 5yo who performs well fresh. 69 weeks off for most other stables is a query, however the Williams camp are experts at getting the imports to go off long spells. 2000m may be a touch short off his overseas profile, especially given the expected tempo here. Given the relative price differential between him and Almandin who’s performed fresh over this distance range we’d rather see him come out and prove himself.


3. Ace High (8) - $15*

J: D. Dunn (59kg) T: D. Payne

The 2017 Victorian Derby winner comes here third-up after being beaten just under 2 lengths by Avilius last-start. He was ridden further back than normal (change of tactics announced) there and went through the line very nicely. Given the expected race shape we don’t expect those tactics to be employed again here. Physically, the 4yo paraded with a bit to come last-start and should be nearing his top over a distance range he’s performed well at (romping in the Hill Stakes at Randwick over 2000m last preparation). With on-speed favours and a nice firm track we’re expecting a good performance from this son of High Chaparral.

4. Trap for Fools (6) - $16*

J: J. Allen (59kg) T: J. McLean

Has paraded in excellent fashion and has improved in both runs this preparation behind Avilius. He gets to his pet distance third-up where he was a Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes winner last preparation here at Flemington. Looks to get complete control of the tempo here (unless Lloyd has other ideas for The Taj Mahal) on a preferred firmer surface. The two runs back have quashed any doubts over this galloper pertaining to the McLean/Weir saga and he looks very attractive on a place line at $4.


6. Avilius (1) - $2F*

J: H. Bowman (59kg) T: J. Cummings

Has returned in sensational fashion this Autumn with dominant wins in the Carlyon and Peter Young Stakes. The step up to 2000m suits and he’s been slowly improving from the parade. Only query is the race shape again. Bowman pushed up last start and received the saloon passage through the field as The Taj Mahal hung out around the bend. With a touch more early speed here, Bowman could find a bit more trouble but does have the added positive of Caulfield to Flemington to mitigate that somewhat. With a similar SP to last start in a worse field we couldn’t suggest betting up at $2 yet find it difficult to say anything beat him with confidence.


12. Night’s Watch (7) - $11*

J: D. Lane (59kg) T: C. Maher

Another one to come through the Carlyon/Peter Young. He was well-backed first-up in the Carlyon to start less than $1 from Avilius. He ran close to that mark when finishing off strongly into 3rd, beaten 1.5 lengths. Was subsequently held-up slightly in the Peter Young but finished too far from the place getters to say it mattered. Going back to last (possibly on the fence) from 7, he’ll have similar issues to Avilius in terms of the race shape. Impossible to say he could beat Avilius all things equal. He’ll improve up to 2000m, as will most others here. He’s the one we’re willing to take on from a place point of view.




  1. Avilius ($2F*)
  2. Trap for Fools ($16*)
  3. Ace High ($15*)
  4. Almandin ($18*)


Betting Plan:

Playing the value runners, more from a place perspective. Should any two place the return will exceed a full 100% on Avilius:

  • 10% of the race bank on Trap for Fools to win at $16 and 30% to place at $4*
  • 5% of the race bank on Ace High to win at $15 and 25% to place at $3.90*
  • 5% of the race bank on Almandin at $18 and 25% to place at $4.40*


*Prices correct at time of publishing


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