Ad Last start All Star Mile runner-up Cascadian (GB) looks well placed in the Group 1 TAB Australian Cup. (George Sal/Racing Photos)

TAB Australian Cup Day Preview

22 March 2023 Written by VRC

The conclusion of the Flemington Racing Spectacular, TAB Australian Cup Day, shapes as a race that could have much emphasis on the fortunes of those eyeing the Melbourne Cup Carnival, in particular, the 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup.

Highlighted by the Group 1 TAB Australian Cup (2000m), the race has attracted form lines from all over the country and abroad. They include All Star Mile (1600m) runner-up Cascadian, the Grahame Begg-duo of Lunar Flare and Nonconformist, who last start won first-up from a spell in the Group 2 TAB Blamey Stakes (1600m)

The Maher/Eustace team have the trio of last start Flemington winner Right You Are, 2022 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) winner Smokin’ Romans and Group 2 Peter Young Stakes winning mare, Steinem.

Interestingly, eighteen of the past thirty winners of the Australian Cup have run in the Peter Young Stakes in the lead up, seven of those won the race heading into the Australian Cup.

Last start Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) placegetter Mo’unga is engaged for trainer Annabel Neasham, who also has Queensland Group 2-winner Numerian accepted in the race.

Two three-year-olds are in the field including last start Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes winner (2040m) Bank Maur and New Zealand-bred galloper Virtuous Circle, who caught the eye late in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) behind superstar filly, Legarto. Both colts will carry 54.5kg under the weight-for-age scale. The last three-year-old to claim the Australian Cup was the Mark Kavanagh-trained Super Cool back in 2013, you have to go right back to the mighty Saintly in 1996 to find the next previous.

Kiwi mare Campionessa boasts form around some of New Zealand’s best horses including Sharp ‘N’ Smart, Prowess and La Crique. Currently second emergency for the race and connections will be hoping for some scratchings to gain a start in the Group 1. Champion jockey Opie Bosson is engaged to ride the mare.

Nonconformist winning the Group 2 TAB Blamey Stakes (1600m). (George Sal/Racing Photos)

Perhaps the most exciting and important race of the day will be the Listed Lexus Roy Higgins (2600m), which has recently become a Golden Ticket into the coveted 2023 Lexus Melbourne Cup. Former-Kiwi Goldman has been installed as favourite and has looked impressive in both Australian starts winning by five lengths at both outings. He looks to have a promising future over ground, this would be by far and away his toughest test to date.

Flemington winners Soulcombe and Alegron are proven at the wide open spances of Flemington. My Racehorse syndicated gelding So Unusual is eyeing off a fifth win in succession for his many supporters, and recent Group 1 Yulong Stud Newmarket Handicap-winning jockey, Dean Holland.

Soulcombe (GB) ridden by Craig Williams was impressive winning the Queen's Cup during the 2022 Melbourne Cup Carnival. (Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)

The two-year-olds fillies battle it out in the Group 3 TBV Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1200m) with some promising youngsters set to clash. Four last start winners including two from the Lindsay Park yard of Ben & JD Hayes, who have produced some impressive juvenile winners this season. Ana Jaahza is coming off a solid maiden win at Ballarat for the Emirates Park ownership. Coast Princess benefitted from the from a run under her belt to break her maiden status at Pakenham.

More Than Ready filly Amazonian Lass comes down from Sydney after an all the way maiden win at Warwick Farm. Fast-finishing daughter of Nicconi, Bossy Nic, will look to go one better after finishing a close up second in the Listed Cinderella Stakes (1050m) at Morphettville. Her trainer Tony McEvoy has won the race twice with Living Spirit (2003) and One World (2004).

Celestial Storm looks to be one of the chances in the Group 3 TBV Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1200m) for co-trainers Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock, having run well in the Group 3 Darley Ottawa Stakes (1000m) during the 2022 Melbourne Cup Carnival. (George Sal/Racing Photos)

The newly revamped Listed Moomba Plate (1100m) has been renamed the Sunlight Classic after the superstar filly that claimed three Group 1 victories including the 2018 Coolmore Stud Stakes and the 2019 Newmarket Handicap. Sunlight was also trained by Tony McEvoy and amassed $6,575,950 in prizemoney over her amazing career.

The race boasts $500,000 in prizemoney and has attracted some brilliant fillies including Inglis Sprint (1200m) winner Benedetta, who exploded to victory down the Flemington straight with an impressive turn of foot. She also holds an acceptance in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) on Friday night at Moonee Valley and the temptation for a Group 1 on her CV will be enticing.

Equally impressive last start Flemington winner and unbeaten Supido colt What You Need is the pick of the boys after his dominant win on Super Saturday, he looks extremely talented and looks effortless in his action. Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s Recommendation is the pick of their three runners and looks the only danger to the top two in the market.

Unbeaten colt What You Need was brilliant on Super Saturday at Flemington and will be looking to keep the streak alive in the lucrative Listed Sunlight Classic (1200m). (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Group Racing, a Golden Ticket, and Fareground fun makes the TAB Australian Cup Race Day a pivotal day on the racing calendar and a fitting finale to the Flemington Racing Spectacular. Don't miss out on your tickets.