This week presents the final chance for horses to make a late charge up the Victorian Country Cups Series leaderboard, with just three qualifying races remaining before the field is set for the inaugural $500,000 grand final at Caulfield on Saturday week, 18 November.
The bet365 Kyneton Cup (2000m) this Wednesday, 8 November, the Community Bank Ballan & District Ballan Cup (1500m) on Saturday, 11 November and the bet365 Ararat Gold Cup (2200m) the following day represent the final opportunities for horses to secure a start in the 2000m handicap.
The Victorian Country Cups Final will be one of many highlights on Victoria’s newest Group 1 raceday, the Schweppes Caulfield Thousand, celebrating the best and most consistent performers in Victoria’s 55 country cups across the past 12 months.
With points awarded to the top three placegetters in each cup on a five, two and one basis, the current series leader remains Travis Doudle’s Not Usual Glorious, who has amassed 12 points with victories in the Swan Hill Cup (1600m) and Terang Cup (2150m), and a second placing in the Warrnambool Cup (2350m).
British import Brayden Star (trained by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young), a winner of September’s Benalla Gold Cup (2100m), climbed to third place on seven points after collecting two points for his runner-up finish in the Group 3 Apiam Animal Health Bendigo Cup (2400m) last Wednesday.
The OTI Racing-owned Sous Les Nuages also moved into calculations across recent days after he capped a winning treble for his trainer Matt Cumani with a determined victory in the bet365 Mortlake Cup (2000m) on Saturday. He now sits at 35th on the leaderboard.
With a field of 16 starters (plus four emergencies) to be assembled for the Victorian Country Cups Final, Symon Wilde’s Colac Gold Cup (2000m) winner Aurora’s Symphony currently occupies the final berth. However, with a total of 24 points still up for grabs in the series, there is likely to be 11th hour movement on the leaderboard this week.
Among those who can leap into contention with a victory in Wednesday’s $125,000 Kyneton Cup is Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s Moe Cup (2050m) runner-up Convener who is currently 59th on two points.
The Victorian Country Cups Final is a Benchmark 100 Handicap with a minimum topweight of 62kg at the declaration of weights. The winner will receive $275,000, with prizemoney paid down to 10th place.
To view the current Victorian Country Cups Series leaderboard, please click here