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Australian Racing: Maher charge set for Cup tilt

With no fewer than six metro meetings across the country in addition to provincial fixtures and numerous country meets there’s plenty of action for punters this Saturday.

Irish can claim Cup

The Flemington Cup 1849 Handicap looks the pick of the action at the Melbourne venue with the 2800m handicap set to jump with eight runners following the defection of Witsabouthim.

Last month’s Banjo Paterson Final held over 2600m here looks a key form line in the context of this race with the second and third home Mimi’s Award and Horrifying filling the minor places in that contest. The first named was narrowly beaten that day and has shown a liking for wet tracks in the past and with that in mind any softening of the track would be no negative with regards his chances while similar comments ground wise apply to the latter having won a Benchmark 78 event at Sandown Hillside on a heavy 9 track on his penultimate outing. The pair may have to give best to Through Irish Eyes however who has performed well at a higher level in the recent past.

Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s charge comes into this contest on the back of a couple of solid placed efforts including when beaten just over three lengths in finishing third in the Lexus Andrew Ramsden over this course and distance in May.

That effort came on a soft 5 track and the four-year-old subsequently delivered a career best effort when a head second when getting in off a light weight in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup at Eagle Farm last month. Stays well having placed in that 3200m contest and looks up to delivering a second win in five starts at this venue.

Legend for second up success

In the seventh race at Rosehill, the Victory Ludorum @ Darley, a Benchmark 88 contest set to be held over 1400m on a heavy 9 track Irish Legend and Brimstone are currently vying for favouritism.

Brimstone showed good form when winning a Benchmark 72 event over this trip on a soft 6 track at Randwick Kensington at the end of last month. While the Smart Missile gelding is a consistent sort he tackles a tougher event here and as such preference is for import Irish Legend who demonstrated good form in handicap company in the UK including when placed at Royal Ascot in June last year.

Now with Les Bridge the four-year-old delivered a highly promising third in a Benchmark 78 on a good 4 track and held over 1500m at this venue just under a month ago.

The wet track here should prove no inconvenience given the pick has shown good form on soft surfaces in Europe and with a good draw and top jockey in Kerrin McEvoy up he is taken to deliver a first Australian victory.

Enabler to complete double

Burning Bell is expected to jump as favourite for the final race on the Eagle Farm card, a 1200m handicap set to take place on a good 4 track.

Jimmy Byrne’s mount was bidding to complete a four-timer when finishing fourth over this course and distance on 25th June and while she is less exposed than her rivals and remains open to improvement she has a poor draw to overcome having drawn barrier 16 ahead of this competitive event.

With the barrier draw in mind it can prove profitable to side with Yes Dream, drawn three off the rail for jockey Larry Cassidy.

The Michael Lee-trained gelding made good headway at smaller tracks winning his first five starts including four times at Townsville. While the gelding disappointed when attempting to make all over 1100m at Ipswich on his penultimate start he put that effort behind him when finishing third over 1050m at Doomben a week ago and backing up quickly looks up to returning to the winners’ enclosure.

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