The Group 3 Hobart Cup is the highlight of the Tasmanian Summer Racing Carnival. The $225,000 event is run over 2400m and traditionally attracts a mixture of local gallopers and interstate raiders.
In recent years, the locals have struggled to keep their biggest prize in Tasmania. Interstate horses have won the Hobart Cup eight times in the past 10 years. The cup made the journey across the Bass Strait to Victoria in both 2013 and 2014.
In 2014, Craig Williams piloted the Mick Kent-trained Epingle to a comfortable three-length victory. The Victorian galloper backed up his Hobart Cup victory by taking out the G3 Launceston Cup a fortnight later.
The Group 3 Hobart Cup is set to jump at 4:35pm (AEDT). Tune into Sky Racing for all the action!
Williams has an outstanding record in the race, winning with Offenbach (2008), Gotta Keep Cool (2009) and Epingle (2014). He will be looking to add a fourth Hobart Cup to his résumé when he partners the Mike Moroney-trained Garud.
Garud, currently $4.20 with TAB.com.au Fixed Odds, was an impressive winner two starts back over 1700m at Warrnambool, before failing to figure in the finish at Flemington on January 17. The seven-year-old gelding has drawn barrier 10 out of 12 and looks to be a touch susceptible over the 2400m journey, though with Craig Williams he will likely be given every possible chance!
In-form trainer Tony McEvoy will saddle up six-year-old stayer Pelicano ($3.80). The gelding, who has drawn ideally in barrier 5, was beaten less than 2 lengths last start in the listed Gosford Cup and has produced solid efforts in the G3 Summer Cup and G2 Villiers Stakes this preparation. This is an ideal race for him and he looks to have the class edge on a number of these runners.
The local contingent of Banca Mo ($7), Geegees Blackflash ($6) and Genuine Lad ($6) will be looking to return the cup to home soil.
The Scott Brunton-trained Banca Mo has had 3 starts this preparation and looks primed for this race. The durable seven-year-old was runner up in the listed Tasmanian Stakes on New Year’s Eve and recorded a victory in a barrier trial last week. The gelding looks to have found form again after an inconsistent Melbourne campaign last year, I expect him to be there when the whips are cracking.
Check out the full TAB.com.au market for the Group 3 Hobart Cup here.
Hometown favourite Geegees Blackflash will line up in the race for the fifth consecutive year. The John Luttrell-trained galloper won the cup in 2012 and has finished third and second respectively in the past two years. In a remarkable achievement, the eight-year-old gelding has won over $1 million in prize money and has never raced outside of Tasmania. He won the Summer Cup over 2200m at Hobart a fortnight ago and his recent form suggests he will be right in the finish again.
Runner up to Geegees Blackflash in the Summer Cup was the Bill Ryan-trained Genuine Lad ($6). The four-year-old is a model of consistency, having only missed a place twice in his 15 starts. The gelding will step out over 2400m for the first time but the rise in distance shouldn’t be a problem. This will be his biggest test to date but he is certainly a horse with potential.
Like the market suggests, finding a winner is a tough assignment. I’m going to put Garud on top, to beat Geegees Blackflash, Pelicano and Genuine Lad.
Listed - Quevega Mares Hurdle
G3 - Michael Purcell Nov Hdle
G3 - Uae Oaks
G3 - Nad Al Sheba Trophy
Listed - Meydan Classic