With five of the seven runners in this Saturday’s G2 Eagle Farm Cup, the $250k feature would be more appropriately named the Chris Waller Gift. Waller won this race last year with Moriarty ($4.00) who has followed the same path, posting similar results, to that of twelve months ago. Moriarty along with stable-mate Foreteller and New Zealand 3yo Werther, head the market at $4.00 with only Hawkspur ($13.00) and Epingle ($10.00) at or over double figure odds.
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1. FORTELLER – J McDonald (2)
Near enough to last as they turned for him in the Doomben Cup (2000m) a fortnight ago, a position from where he had to ease off heels and then race tight inside of stable-mate and third place-getter I’m Imposing. Not much went right last time out, his first run for a month, and could’ve finished closer than his fourth (2.7 lengths) behind Leebaz.
Interesting to note that only two of his eleven career wins have been beyond 1800m, but his last start effort cannot be denied.
2. MORIARTY – B Shinn (1)
In need of the run in the G2 Hollindale Stakes, his first for over a month and only second of this campaign, when tenth (4.6 lengths) to Leebaz, before producing an improved fourth placing behind Pornichet in the G1 Doomben Cup. Was given every chance last start, tracking the winner throughout in the run but fourth up into the campaign now, combined with a field of limited depth, he looks primed for his title defence.
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3. HAWKSPUR – T Berry (3)
For the first time in a long time, the 5yo showed some signs of better form when third in both the G3 Sky High Stakes and G3 Neville Sellwood during the Sydney carnival, giving connections some hope as he returned to Queensland for the first time since dominating the 3yo races during the 2013 Brisbane Carnival. He ran a disappointing second-to-last however in the G2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) and was only holding his ground in the Doomben Cup (2000m) when seventh (5.1 lengths) to Pornichet at his only run since. An extra furlong is in his favour but hard to see him turning the tables on his stable-mates here that have been in much stronger form.
4. I’M IMPOSING – T Angland (7)
Angled away from the rails as they turned for home in the G1 Doomben Cup (2000m), presented wide and a touch worse than midfield at the 300m mark, before finishing strongly to claim third (3.1 lengths) behind Pornichet. He finished third again when contesting last week’s G3 Lord Mayor’s Cup (1600m). Found a bit of traffic on the turn and dropping back to a mile, couldn’t sprint with the leader and eventual winner Strawberry Boy in the straight. Racing very well at present but yet to win beyond 2000m or under WFA conditions and this will be his third race in the space of four weeks.
5. INDEX LINKED – D Browne (4)
The 7yo was rewarded for his consistent performances in Sydney (JRA Plate) and the Gold Coast (G3 Chairman’s Handicap), with victory in the Listed Caloundra Cup narrowly defeating Escado. Given a great ride last start under 59kgs but will find this much harder and at Weight For Age conditions, will not receive any weight relief. Will give it his best but unfortunately at this level, can’t see that being enough.
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6. EPINGLE – J Bowman (5)
The 7yo mare bounced back after a flat first up effort to register a half-length victory over Index Linked (recent winner of the Caloundra Cup) in the Gold Coast’s G3 Chairman’s Handicap (2200m) before struggling when stepping in class and contesting the G1 Doomben Cup (2000m). Dropped a long way back last start from a poor draw and was tightened on the point of turn however, to see her winning here, would’ve liked to the Mick Kent trained galloper hitting the line stronger than she did late.
7. WERTHER – J McDonald (5)
New Zealand 3yo who travelled to Adelaide three weeks ago for the S.A. Derby where he started a $12.00 chance. Despite the wide gate, he found a lovely spot in the run but was simply no match late for the exciting Delicacy and finished second (1.5 lengths). That was only his eleventh start and the son of Tavistock, who is a recent Group 2 winner against his own age in New Zealand, is improving with each outing. He enjoys an advantage at the weights here taking on the older horses however, against some seasoned campaigners, not sure that will be enough to see him over the line in first position.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Index Linked goes forward with Werther. Only a small field so tactic will be all important here but from would think Moriarty and Foreteller from their gates are in the box seat throughout. Both were very good in the Doomben Cup but over 2200m, would lean to Moriarty given his record. I’m Imposing is racing very well and will get the last shot at them whilst Index Linked will stick.
3. I’M IMPOSING
4. INDEX LINKED