After running fourth in the race last year, Pop Culture returns for another attempt at the Group 2 Perth Cup and, coming off a strong neck win at her last start, the 5yo mare is currently joint favourite with Black Tycoon at $5.50. As the price would suggest, there a host of chances for this year’s event with a further four runners under double figures including Kincaple who, at his most recent start, ran a great second to budding local superstar Ihtsahymn.
1. KINCAPLE – P Harvey (19) 59kgs
Given a month off after failing in the G1 Railway Stakes (1600m), the 8yo trained by Mike Reed bounced back to form with a neck second to Ihtsahymn in the G2 Cox Stakes (2100m) last start. Ihtsahymn is the form benchmark in Perth racing this summer and with that run being Kincaple’s third start this prep and the first for four weeks, he should be primed for this. He has been placed four times from five starts but does face a tough task from a horrible draw.
2. ROHAN – G Smith (9) 56kgs
The son of Blackfriars has been placed five from six starts this preparation including his latest effort when third in the G2 Cox Stakes (2100m) behind Ihtsahymn and Kincaple (beaten 2.2 lengths). His last two runs have been under WFA conditions (ran third in the G1 Kingston Town Stakes) and the drop to handicap conditions here and the 56kgs is a big bonus. Going too well to ignore and his only previous start over this trip was a 1 ¼ length win in the WATC Derby back in 2012.
3. BLACK TYCOON – D Oliver (7) 55.5kgs
After winning the Listed Tatt’s Cup (2100m) three starts ago, the 8yo gelding tried his luck in the top grade and submitted a solid performance when seventh (beaten 3 lengths) in the G1 Kingston Town Stakes (1800m). He backed that up at his most recent start, with another solid effort running fourth in the G2 Cox Stakes (2100m), 2 ½ lengths behind Ihtsahymn. This his is his first time past 2100m but given his recent form and the fact that he’ll only carry 55.5kgs here, 3.5kgs less than his last two starts, has to be rated a chance.
4. GOD HAS SPOKEN – B Parnham (15) 55.5kgs
The Neville Parnham trained galloper has been struggling for form at his last two starts. He had drawn well and secured a nice run in both the G1 Kingston Town Stakes and G2 Cox Stakes however, he has been unable to capitalize on his position and has finished last and second last respectively. The 7yo has had four attempts at this distance with his best effort and only placing at this trip, being a second in this race 2011, when in career best form. Ran last in this race last year.
5. TALENT SHOW – J Noske (13) 55.5kgs
Her fifth placing (beaten 5 ¾ lengths) in the Listed Bart Cummings (2500m) behind Araldo during the VRC Carnival, was her best run for some time. Certainly better than any of the four runs she has produced in Perth since that run. The Jeune mare finished ninth (5 lengths) in the Kingstown Town Stakes and last in the Cox Stakes at her two most recent outings. Hard to see her winning this race on those efforts.
6. MOONLIGHT BAY – C Parnham (12) 54.5kgs
The Catbird mare won the Listed Ascot Gold Cup (1800m) and was good again at her following start, the Tatt’s Cup (2100m) when fourth (beaten 1 ¾ lengths behind Knightlike) but since stepping up to Group races at her two most recent starts, she has been tested. She finished eighth in both the Railway Stakes and Cox Stakes, beaten 4 ½ and 5 ¼ lengths respectively and, combined with the fact that she hasn’t registered a place in four attempts at this distance, it makes her hard to have here.
7. ASK ME NICELY – S Parnham (11) 54kgs
Tried to lead all the way too starts ago before finishing seventh of twelve (2 ¼ lengths) behind Pop Culture and Knightlike before, from a good draw, getting every chance in the run to do better than her fourth (1 ¾ lengths) to Wroughted in BM 78 Open race. The Ustinov gelding generally produces his best when leading or sitting up on the pace and from gate eleven, would expect him to go searching for that kind of position here but, even if he were to find a good spot with little effort, would expect he’d find the challengers too strong in the last furlong.
8. CYBER CRIME – P Carbery (17) 54kgs
Went within a half a length of winning the G.A. Towton Cup two starts back before, as a $6 chance, running eighth (beaten 4 ¼ lengths) in a BM 79 Open (2200m) at his last start behind Pop Culture. Settled closer to the speed than he normally does last start but still but still wanted to see him stick on stronger than what he did to before considering him a chance here. Draw is a shocker.
9. DANECLICKED – S McCruddy (10) 54kgs
He ran third three starts back in the Listed Tatt’s Cup (2100m) before finishing only 1.9 lengths (7th) behind Knightlike and Cyber Crime in the Towton Cup (2200m). His next and most recent start was another solid performance when fourth (1 ½ lengths) behind Pop Culture and Knightlike in a BM 78. Honest performer who will again give his best but, has he has down in similar grades of races late, just may find a few at this level too hard to catch.
10. GLOBAL FLIRT – J Whiting (8) 54kgs
Ran fifth in both the Tatt’s Cup and Towton Cup (beaten 2 ½ and 1 ½ lengths respectively) before finding the step in class of the Cox Stakes well beyond his capabilities and running tenth of twelve, 6 ¼ lengths behind Ihtashymn. His latest start was over the unsuitable 1500m and in a BM 78 and he finished a respectable 2.6 lengths sixth. The return to a staying trip and the relative light weight compared to his most recent starts are pluses but hasn’t win for sixteen starts and over a year now so hard to take with confidence.
11. KEEPERS COURT- P Hall (1) 54kgs
He comes into this race off an unorthodox preparation that consists of two starts after an eight week break. He did make good ground last start, his first outing for four weeks, where from the tail of the field he ran fifth (beaten 1 ¾ lengths) under 59kgs behind Pop Culture and Knightlike The Keeper gelding can only be better for having had last start and the drop to 54kgs also appeals. Might be one at value for the multiples.
12. KNIGHTLIKE – S O’Donnell (3) 54kgs
Trainer Jemma Hayman has this son of Viscount ticking over nicely and well prepared for this event. After closing from well back in the field to run a head second in the Tatt’s Cup (2100m), the 7yo went one better when again finishing strongly in the Towton Cup (2200m). His final hit-out for this race saw him close steadily under 57.5kgs to finish second (beaten a neck) to Pop Culture over 2200m. No reason why he will not be in the thick of the finish again here.
13. MARDEN – P Knuckey (16) 54kgs
A former Chris Waller representative, this 6yo is now with Lark Hill trainer Adam Durrant. The son of Danehill Dancer farewelled Waller by winning a BM 84 race (2000m) at Caulfield, defeating Canonized by a nose. That victory was just over three weeks ago now but being accustomed to big weights in the eastern states, he’ll enjoy the 54.5kgs assigned to him here however, with only one win from ten starts at or beyond 2100m and coming up with gate 16, would be happy to bet around him.
14. OPERATIONAL – S Meeres (6) 54kgs
Has had three runs back from a spell and none of them would indicate the 5yo Tiger Hill gelding would be a legitimate chance here but, she is trained by the astute Fred Kersley. Ran second to last first up in the Scahill Stakes (1400m) before jumping immediately to a 2200m race and racing tenth (7 ¼ lengths) in the field of twelve. He then returned to a 1500m event and, after settling closer to the speed from a good draw, stuck on solidly as a $21 chance to run second, beaten a neck behind Wroughted. Bounces back up to 2400m but too hard to get a handle on just where he is at to be including him among the chances here.
15. POP CULTURE – T Turner (4) 54kgs
Ran fourth in this race last year as a $7 chance and returns this year set to go closer again judging by her recent starts. She came from well back in the field two starts back to run sixth (1 ¾ lengths) behind Knightlike in the Towton Cup before proving too strong at her next and most recent start, when recording a long neck win over Knightlike. Drops to a luxury of 54kgs after carrying 57.5kgs last stat at this, her sixth start in, will be at her peak. Drawn beautifully in gate four and will make her presence known.
16. STARLIGHT LADY – R Hill (14) 54kgs
A back-marker by Fantastic Light who lines up for her fifth start this preparation. Despite running tenth in the Towton Cup, the 7yo mare was only 3 ¾ lengths from Knightlike and was better again at her next and most recent start, when closing at a good rate to run third (beaten 1 ¾ lengths) Pop Culture. An effort that carried further merit when considering she laid in up the straight. On that effort, her current quote seems a little generous.
17. MALAIKA – 1st Emergency (5) 54kgs
Has continues to steadily improve this preparation to the point that two starts ago, he ran third in the Towton Cup behind Knightlike and Cyber Crime before being caught wide last start and finishing a respectable sixth of twelve (1.9 lengths) behind Pop Culture. On those efforts, the 7yo mare could be given some chance to fill a place but her strike rate is poor and remarkably, from eighteen starts at this track, she is yet to win a race.
18. MOREISH – 2nd Emergency (18) 54kgs
As expected, the 4yo by More Than Ready didn’t produce much in her first two runs when resuming from a twenty-seven well spell but has crept closer at his subsequent runs as her races increase in length. She finished 2 ½ lengths behind Knightlike in the Towton Cup and 2 ¼ lengths behind Crumpet O’reilly in the WA St. Leger at his most recent start. Should be at her peak now and won the Oaks earlier this year before running second in the Derby.
19. DOUTABLE – 3rd Emergency (20) 54kgs
Well accounted for in both the Tatt’s Cup and Towton Cup (eleventh in both) before a significant drop in class and distance, saw better results. The Redoubtable 6yo ran third in both of his two most recent races but neither effort would suggested that he’s ready to return to a better grade of race over a longer trip.
20. JIM’N’JIM – 4th Emergency (2) 54kgs
The 5yo mare hasn’t been far behind the place-getters in her recent starts but they have all been in races of lesser quality than this race. It’s the first time she’s has accepted for a Stakes race since her three year old season and none of her efforts during that time, would suggest she’s a genuine chance in a race of this calibre.
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Wide open affair is this 2014 Perth Cup with $5.50 the field on offer in early markets. Going with Rohan as the one on top given his recent efforts in two of Perth’s feature races. He finished third in the Kingston Town and C B Cox Stakes, drops 3kgs, and from gate nine, should be able to find a nice spot just off the leading group for the majority of the race. Pop Culture certainly gets here chance to better last year’s result whilst Damien Oliver would dearly love to add his home-state Cup to his Melbourne Cup victory from earlier this year aboard Black Tycoon. Value runners could be a couple who both have had an unusual preparations for such a race as this but, who each suggested at their last start, should not be forgotten – Keepers Court ($14.00) and Operational ($21.00).