Group 1 Australian Cup Preview

Fascinating edition of the Australian Cup this Saturday at Flemington.

PRIDE OF JENNI winning the Kennedy Champions Mile
PRIDE OF JENNI winning the Kennedy Champions Mile Picture: Colin Bull / Sportpix

The Australian Cup has lost its way a bit in recent years which is a shame considering the champion honour roll of the race, but it's found a good spot in the carnival here and attracted a good field.

The All-Star Mile trifecta are here which includes last year's winner and we've got the Champions Stakes winner in Atishu and an Australian Guineas winner from New Zealand in Legarto back.

It's been well documented, but the race really does evolve around Pride Of Jenni. She was awesome in the All-Star Mile, showing a display of sustained speed that broke her rivals hearts- not easy to do when one of them is Mr Brightside.

Much was made of the ride on Brightside and while I would've preferred to see him closer, the Timeform rating of 124 she ran there is simply better (at weight-for-age) than he's done.

His best asset is consistency, again running to a very high level last start, only two pounds off his best ratings, one of which came in last year's Cox Plate.

The pace wasn't as strong there as he's likely to encounter with Jenni in the race, but it was his last race at this trip, and that counts for plenty.

Jenni will have to run more steady fractions to see out the 2000m- basic maths tells us that. If she goes at the same tempo she did last start, she'll implode. That said, she doesn't want to take away her best asset and go too slowly to try and 'run the trip'.

Ciaron Maher and Declan Bates will know all of this of course, but whether the horse can do it is another question. Mr Brightside seems sure to sit closer this time as well,
he's probably only four lengths off her in the run from the inside gate rather than 8-10  and trying to circle the field.

I think Jenni has to regress by a couple of lengths, and Mr Brightside's consistency should have him run at least a similar race to last start, if not perhaps a touch better. I think he turns the tables.

All that said, Cascadian and Atishu aren't to be discounted. Atishu comes through a very slowly run Blamey where she was a bit, but not far off her peak, which came in the Champions Stakes at this track and trip in the Spring.

120 there goes a fair way to winning this, and her run in the Empire Rose behind Pride Of Jenni prior was excellent.

Cascadian will be hoping Mr Brightside tries to really stick close to Pride Of Jenni and both end up vulnerable late so he can swoop. They do look the clear first four ahead of Legarto who is very good, but is more around the 112 mark, especially over 2000m which I don't think is her best trip.

Tipping Mr Brightside to turn the tables ahead of Cascadian and Atishu.