February is a month when Tasmania’s Racing Carnival comes alive with some of the best trainers and jockeys in the business heading south for the Hobart and Launceston Cups.
Today marks the 151st running of the Group 3 Launceston Cup. The $225,000 event is run over 2400m and there are eight horses that had their last start in the Group 3 Hobart Cup, including dual Hobart Cup winner Geegees Blackflash, currently $3.60 with TAB.com.au.
There’s some extra incentive for the Geegees Blackflash camp today, as a bonus of $100,000 will apply if the Hobart Cup winner, gets the ‘Cups Double’. The Michael Kent-trained Epingle did it in 2014 with Craig Williams on board, so trainer John Luttrell, owners Paul & Elizabeth Geard and the eight year old’s cult following will be hoping ‘The Flash’ can follow in her footsteps.
The Group 3 Launceston Cup is set to jump at 4:27pm (AEDT)! Watch the action on Sky Racing 1 or World (Foxtel Channel 519 & 521) or on your computer at www.skyracing.tv or on your mobile device via the Sky Racing App.
There’s a lot up for grabs in today’s Launceston Cup! As well the $135,000 to the winner, today’s victor will get an exemption from the first ballot of the Melbourne Cup.
Banca Mo ($4) produced a fine effort last start to finish third in the Hobart Cup and will be better for that run after returning to the track since he became fractious in the barriers and knocked his head on January 19. Looks very dangerous.
The Tony McEvoy-trained Pelicano ($7) has barrier 2 and drops 1kg from last start (5th – Hobart Cup). The six year old has won over 2400m and finished 4th three starts back in a Group 3 at Randwick behind I'm Imposing over 2000m.
Outisder, Another Lad Al ($126) beat Geegees Blackflash over 2100m on this track just four starts back however it produced incredibly poor performances in the three races since, going down to Geegees Blackflash twice and Hugo last start.
Hugo, ($21), looks to be the best value in the race. The four year old is racing well, having won or placed in all nine starts this prep. That includes a win last start over 2100m. Darren Gauci on board and only has 54kg. Definitely one to throw in the exotics.
Ollie's Gold ($14) is another horse which may prove to be value, got a good run to finish 4th in the Hobart Cup. Has got the wide barrier (13) but with Dean Yendall on board again, I expect this one to go close when they’re passing the post.
Trainer John Blacker thinks his rank outsider, Digger’s Dame ($201), will relish the extra ground and is hopeful of a place.
Garud, ($10), was an impressive winner three starts back over 1700m at Warrnambool but has failed to fire since, finishing a disappointing 8th in the Hobart Cup.
Last year’s Hobart and Launceston Cup winning jockey Craig Williams was on Garud in this year’s Hobart Cup but jumps onto the Billy Ryan trained Genuine Lad, with Dwayne Dunn picking up the ride on Garud.
Genuine Lad ($3) finished second to Geegees Blackflash two starts back by a short head before again playing bridesmaid to ‘The Flash’ by a head in the Hobart Cup. However the four year old’s run in the Hobart Cup was commendable, as he was wide for the majority of the trip and to finish like he did showed he is a genuine (no pun intended) stayer. Based on his gutsy effort last start, the fact that he only has to carry 54kg and star hoop Craig Williams in on board, I think this gelding will prove too strong for this bunch.
Hometown hero and 2013 Launceston Cup winner, Geegees Blackflash ($3.60), has had the better of Genuine Lad in recent encounters. The eight year old proved he's still got what it takes at this level, winning the Hobart Cup last start but with 60.5kg today, I think he may come up just shy. Can win, but I'm putting Genuine Lad on top.
I’m tipping Genuine Lad to come out on top of Geegees Blackflash, Hugo and Banca Mo.
Don’t forget to tune into Race 9 from Launceston on Sky Racing today to see The Cleaner’s return in the Listed George Adams Plate (1600m).
G3 - The Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Steeple Chase
G2 - Prix Raoul Balliere
G2 - Prix Ariste Hemard
G3 - Victress Stakes
G2 - Premier Trophy