Maktoob and Riotous Mischief staked their claims for a start in the $500,000 Victorian Country Cups Final (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday, 18 November with dominant weekend victories in country Victoria.
The Simon Zahra-trained Maktoob moved to 21st on the series leaderboard after landing a maximum five points with an odds-on triumph in Sunday’s Listed Ladbrokes Sale Cup (1600m).
The import denied a gallant Keats who was consigned to the runners-up stall for a second Country Cup in 2023 after finishing second in the Swan Hill Cup (1600m) in June.
The Gavin Bedggood-trained front-runner collected two points to move to 44th on the leaderboard for the series which celebrates the best performed horses from Victoria’s 55 country cups and culminates on the state's newest Group 1 raceday, the Schweppes Caulfield Thousand.
Rocketing into fifth place on the leaderboard was the Andrew Bobbin-trained Riotous Mischief who added Saturday’s Weir’s IGA & Liquor St Arnaud Cup (2000m) to his second placing in the Nhill Cup (1650m) last Boxing Day.
Riotous Mischief denied the Toby Lake-trained Aquila Volare who has finished second in the Manangatang and St Arnaud Cups at his past two starts to move into 48th position.
Reigning Country Racing Victoria Horse of the Year Not Usual Glorious (12 points) and Gemma Rielly’s progressive stayer Claidheamh Mor (11 points) remain atop of the leaderboard with six qualifying races remaining.
The $500,000 Apiam Animal Health Bendigo Cup (2400m) on Wednesday (1 November) presents the next opportunity for horses to earn points in the Series, with the Bet365 Mortlake Cup (2000m) and Elders Mt Wycheproof Cup (1800m) to follow suit on Saturday.
The winners of each Country Cup collect five points in the series, with two points awarded to the runner-up and third place receiving one point. In the event of a dead-heat, the points are not shared with each horse receiving the full quota for first, second or third.
The final is a Benchmark 100 Handicap featuring a field of 16 starters (plus four emergencies), with a minimum topweight of 62kg at the declaration of weights. First prize is $275,000 with prizemoney paid down to 10th.
To view the current Country Cups Series Leaderboard, please click here
The list of remaining qualifying races is as follows:
- Apiam Animal Health Bendigo Cup (2400m) – Wednesday, 1 November
- Bet365 Mortlake Cup (2000m) – Saturday, 4 November
- Elders Mt Wycheproof Cup (1800m) – Saturday, 4 November
- Bet365 Kyneton Cup (2000m) – Wednesday, 8 November
- Community Bank Ballan & District Ballan Cup (1500m) – Saturday, 11 November
- Bet365 Ararat Gold Cup (2000m) – Sunday, 12 November