Geelong Cup Day holds a vital place in the complexion of the Spring Carnival and nine races will be run and won on Wednesday.
The rail will remain in the true position around the entire course and at publish, the track is rated in the soft range.
Race 1 - 12:30pm AEDT
Coulter Roach BM70 Handicap (2400m)
Excelman will take winning form into Race 1 on Geelong Cup Day and looks well placed to make it two in a row.
The Richard Laming-trained gelding was easily first past the post when he resumed at Sale but was disqualified after jockey Michael Walker weighed in light, but he has since finished second in BM64 company at Cranbourne and won under the same conditions.
Fitter fourth-up and out to the mile and a half, it looks another great race for him.
4 Units Excelman
Race 2 - 1pm AEDT
Jack Rabbit BM70 Handicap (1700m)
Scottish Dancer is another impressive last-start winner stepping out on Geelong Cup Day that looks capable of making it two in a row.
The Mick Price & Mick Kent Jnr-trained gelding really only has returned one poor effort during his racing career, and his two performances this time have suggested that he has returned to the track and even brighter prospect.
This doesn’t look a whole lot harder than the race that he won at Cranbourne a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t find a reason why he won’t be in the finish.
4 Units Scottish Dancer
Race 3 - 1:35pm AEDT
Geelong Australia BM64 Handicap (1100m)
Witchfulthinking hasn’t been seen at the races since June, but she has a strong fresh record, and this looks a very winnable race for her.
The Andrew Noblett-trained mare returned several excellent performances last time in, highlighted by a close-up second behind the talented Knowles at Ballarat.
Jamie Kah takes the rides today, which is obviously a bonus, and she is drawn to receive a dream run from barrier 3.
2 Units Witchfulthinking
Race 4 - 2:10pm AEDT
Jack McLean Dual Choice Plate (1200m)
The early scratching of a couple of key horses has opened up this race from a betting perspective and Street Icon has live claims on winning, at a lovely price ($9 at publish).
The Kevin Corstens-trained mare was a strong and consistent performer last time in, placing in both the VOBIS Gold Sprint and the Proud Miss Stakes, and finishing midfield in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes most notably.
She has yet to show her best form in four starts back from a spell, but her last three have been in black type company and she’ll relish this decent drop in class this week.
2 Units E/W Street Icon
Race 5 - 2:45pm AEDT
Hamilton Group Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series BM78 Handicap (1500m)
The consistent Kaplumpich will step out in Race 5 and typically shapes as a genuine each-way chance.
It has been a while between drinks for the All American gelding, but he also rarely runs a bad one, and enters this race off the back of another credible run for third behind Groundswell at Cranbourne.
He’s at peak fitness for this race and the small rise in trip should suit.
2 Units E/W Kaplumpich
Race 6 - 3:20pm AEDT
Listed Geelong Classic (2200m)
A couple of genuine Derby horses tend to come out of the Geelong Classic, and a decent field of eleven will contest this year’s edition.
The Godolphin-trained Alcyone hasn’t measured up at his last two starts, but this is a drop in class and it appears as though he’ll enjoy the rise in trip.
The Teofilo colt finished second behind Cherry Tortoni in the Listed Taj Rossi Final in June and to his credit, he did keep his best work for late when midfield in the Listed Super Impose Stakes last time out.
3 Units Alcyone
Race 7 - 4pm AEDT
Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m)
The Geelong Cup has a rich history in the lead up to the Melbourne Cup, and a couple of potentially key runners will step out on Wednesday.
German raider Ashrun will make his first Australian appearance in the Geelong Cup and is a fitting occupant of the top line of betting.
The Authorized entire has found form around some of the world’s best stayers and in some very handy races, and arrived in Australia off the back of consecutive second-placings in a couple of key 3000m races, including the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay in France.
I concede that he will be better over the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup, but he’ll be tough to beat in this race on class alone.
I’m also going to have a small each-way bet on the second-up King Of Leogrance.
King Of Leogrance stamped himself as a series Cups contender when putting paid to his rivals in the Adelaide Cup earlier this year, and I’m confident he’ll enjoy good improvement off what was only a fair first-up effort in the Turnbull Stakes.
3 Units Ashrun
1 Unit E/W King Of Leogrance
Race 8 - 4:40pm AEDT
Listed Black Pearl Stakes (1200m)
A capacity field will contest the Black Pearl Stakes, but it does look Xilong’s to lose.
Xilong has been a terrific horse for the McEvoys since debut in May last year, and has recorded some very good results in some very good races.
Having run third in the Group 1 Surround and won the Group 2 Euclose during her autumn prep this year, she returned to the races for a credible fifth placing in a Group 3 contest at Caulfield a little under a fortnight ago, and she will enjoy good improvement into this race.
The $4.20 available at publish looks a touch of overs.
5 Units Xilong
Race 9 - 5:20pm AEDT
No Fuss Event Hire BM64 Handicap (1400m)
He’ll need some luck after drawing barrier 13, but I am a big fan of Dune Field, and this shapes as a winnable race for him, at a price ($13 at publish).
The Shamexpress gelding needed the run when he finished fifth in maiden company at Sandown when resuming last time, but won each of his next two starts in impressive fashion.
He returned a similar effort for fifth when resuming at Cranbourne this time, and I am happy to have an each-way play at the price.
1 Unit E/W Dune Field