A Closer Look – Australian Cup

Strong contingent of mares looking to add their name to Australian Cup honour roll

DUAIS winning the Tab Australian Cup.
DUAIS winning the Tab Australian Cup. Picture: Colin Bull / Sportpix

It has been a while since an Australian Cup has been as highly-anticipated as Saturday's edition at Flemington and mares are playing a big role in that.

Relentless front-runner Pride Of Jenni is challenging Mr Brightside for favouritism, Champions Stakes winner Atishu holds down the third line of betting, while Kiwi Group 1 winner Legarto is also engaged.

But the girls will have to go where few mares have if they are to win the $3 million Group 1.

You don't have to go back too far for the most recent of the six mares to win the race as a weight-for-age contest,Duais two years ago, but she was the first to win since Makybe Diva in 2005.

Duais is one of 32 mares to have run in the race since Makyba Diva, with five others finishing runner-up and one third placegetter.

Few mares' started as short as some of this year's runners, however.

Pride Of Jenni was $2.90 chance on Thursday morning, which was the same price Makybe Diva started when she won.

The Hall of Fame Legend is not the shortest-priced mare in the past 20 years, with Princess Coup finished second as $2.80 favourite in 2008.

The only other mare to start under 'each-way odds' in the post-Makybe Diva era was Jameka, who finished second as a $4.20 chance in 2017.

The next shortest was Miss Finland, who stated $6.50 when fifth in 2008, meaning Pride Of Jenni and Atishu ($6) are on track to be two of the five shortest-priced mares since Makybe Diva.

Duais won as a $7 chance, defeating $3.10 favourite Think It Over, which was another blow for favourite backers in an Australian Cup.

Even accounting for Dandy Andy's win at 125/1, the Australian Cup was a good race for favourites in its early days as a WFA event with Bonecrusher, Vo Rogue, Better Loosen Up and Veandercross winning at odds-on between 1987 and 1993, but it has not been kind since.

Northerly ($1.70) and Fiorente ($1.95) have won at odds-on since, but Cascadian – who won at $4 last year – is one of only four other favourites to score in the past 30 years.

Mares in the Australian Cup (since 2006)

2023: Campionessa (6th at $7.50), El Patroness (7th, $81), Lunar Flare (9th, $31), Steinem (10th, $11)
2022: Duais (WON, $7), She's Ideel (10th, $17)
2021: Paradee (4th, $8), Miami Bound (7th, $151), Miss Sisska (last, $91)
2020: Miss Sisska (8th, $16)
2019: Shillelagh (2nd, $18)
2018: Single Gaze (5th, $9), Devise (last, $31)
2017: Jameka (2nd, $4.20)
2016: Rising Romance (3rd, $11), Fenway (4th, $10), Suavito (9th, $6)
2015: No mares
2014: Voleuse De Coeurs (5th, $26), Lets Make Adeal (7th, $81)
2013: Invest (9th, $81)
2012: Southern Speed (2nd, $8.50)
2011: No mares
2010: Divine Rebel (6th, $41), Miss Maren (7th, $9), Zarita (13th, $11)
2009: Zarita (4th, $15), Arapaho Miss (9th, $51)
2008: Princess Coup (2nd, $2.80 fav), Miss Finland (5th, $6.50)
2007: Aqua D'amore (4th, $8.50)
2006: Candy Vale (2nd, $19), Demerger (8th, $13), She's Justa Tad (10th, $41)