2018 Perth Cup Betting Tips

January 1, 2018 by Posted in Horse Racing Tips

The Group 2 Perth Cup at Ascot headlines a huge day of racing in Australia on New Year’s Day.
The $500,000 race has a capacity field of 16 runners set to line up over the 2400m distance, headlined by Group 1 Kingston Town Classic winner Pounamu.

I’ll be fascinated to walk the Ascot track before the races kick off on Monday, as I think there will be a pattern develop in the early races. My theory is this: we didn’t have racing at Ascot during the week this week, and the rail moved out from the 3m position to the 10m position for Saturday’s meeting. That means the inside 10m patch of grass has had a week to ‘recover’, and the rail now moves back to the 5m position for Monday’s meeting. Given we raced just two days ago, there will naturally be some wear and tear from the 10m position off the rail in the home straight, but with the rail moving back inside to the 5m position, the inside 5m in the home straight will be fresh grass. With that in mind, it wouldn’t surprise me to horses winning down the outside in the straight in the early races, as the ground will be a bit more compact than the inside patch which will be fresh. In any case, by the time Race 8 comes around for the Perth Cup, I’d expect that to have evened out, but it will be key to pay close attention to the races leading up to the feature.

In terms of pace in this race, we know exactly how it will be run. Current second-favourite Trap For Fools will be sent straight to the front from barrier 4, and he looks to get a fairly easy lead. Expect him to really ramp it up from the 800m mark. He will be joined on pace by the likes of Dark Alert, who should box seat from gate 1, while Angola and Not Again Ken are expected to slide across from their wide barriers. Toppa Dawozza will be prominent, and current favourite Material Man looks to get a beautiful run forward of midfield from barrier 3. Star Value is another that draws favourably in 6 and should be in midfield, if not better, and the cerise and white pair of Cosmic Storm and Royal Star won’t be far away from their good draws. Pounamu maps to settle just worse than midfield from 8. Bollywood Blitz, Falcon Crest and Dark Musket will likely be forced back from wide barriers, with Zarantz, Shinta Mani and Juicing Carrots likely to be near the rear of the field.

I’ve narrowed this down to about six or seven chances.
I found it very hard to split Trap For Fools and Material Man. Trap For Fools has now won eight of his past nine starts and is showing no signs of slowing down. I thought he was gone at the turn last start, but he fought on incredibly bravely to win the ATA Stakes over 2200m. On reflection, I think he was ridden poorly by Alan Kennedy. The horse needs to get going at the 800m mark and run his rivals into the ground, but Kennedy cuddled him until the top of the straight, allowing his rivals to level up to him before he got busy. I think with a more aggressive ride here he can win this, and history shows you want to be carrying around 54.5kg or less in this race (Delicacy was the exception, but she was a freak).

Material Man, on the other hand, led the small field in the Ted Van Heemst Stakes two weeks ago, when he was collared late by Pounamu. Before that, he was bettered by the big grey in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic. Importantly, he gets a 2.5kg weight swing on Pounamu in today’s Cup, as opposed to the 59kg both carried under weight-for-age conditions in the Van Heemst. With the good run in transit from the gun draw, and with that weight relief, I think that’s enough to turn the tables on Pounamu.

Pounamu was ultra-impressive, however, when taking out the Van Heemst Stakes, after settling two-wide without cover for the majority of the race. He proved that his strong turn of foot is just as effective over the staying trip as it was when winning the Kingston Town, and he put to bed any doubts over his ability to see out the distance. He should get a nice run from barrier 8, just worse than midfield with cover, but history suggests the 59kg impost is incredibly tough to overcome. As aforementioned, Delicacy set a new weight-carrying record when winning the Perth Cup with 59kg, but she was possibly a bit classier than Pounamu. Having said that, this isn’t exactly a vintage edition of the Cup, and judging on his form this campaign, it would be silly to discount him.

Of the others, four-year-old Star Value could be the value at $17. He’s had a funny campaign, but really caught the eye when charging home to win by 2.5L when stepped up in trip last start. That was over 2200m, so he shouldn’t have any issue tackling the 2400m today. He undoubtedly needs to go to another level today as this is a significant step up in class, and his time for the 2200m was slower than both of Trap For Fools’ past two wins. He does get a good draw here and with just 53kg I expect him to run a bold race.

Zarantz is ready to win, and he’s been set for this race all along. He is an out-and-out stayer and has gradually been coming good the further he’s got into his preparation. He drops from 59kg to 54.5kg from his last start 3rd in the Van Heemst, but he was beaten 4L by Pounamu and Material Man, so I find it hard to see him turning the tables, especially as Material Man drops 2.5kg here as well.

Others to consider are Dark Alert and Royal Star. Dark Alert ran 2nd to Trap For Fools last start and was only beaten a head, but Trap For Fools does get a small weight swing on him today. He’ll get a good run from barrier 1 and should be competitive. Royal Star was backed off the map to beat Trap For Fools in the ATA Stakes, but was only plain and could only manage 4th. She did run 2nd in the WA Oaks over this track and distance, and if she were to bring her best form she’d give this a good shake. She will need to parade much better though. Her stablemate, Cosmic Storm, would also be very competitive if she somehow rediscovered her best form, but she’s been a long way off that all preparation.
Backing Trap For Fools, Material Man and Star Value, but hugely wary of the big grey Pounamu!


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