Group Winners To Converge On Canberra For Cup

By: Alex Steedman

 Sunday’s $200,000 Listed CanPrint Canberra Cup (2000m) has attracted an impressive 32 nominations which include the Gai Waterhouse-trained Group 1 winner Rock Kingdom plus a number of other Group and Stakes performed gallopers.

Waterhouse will be striving to claim her fifth Canberra Cup with Rock Kingdom who goes into Sunday’s $200,000 CanPrint Canberra Cup (2000m) at Thoroughbred Park following his latest Melbourne Spring campaign.

Group 1 placed on multiple occasions, Rock Kingdom’s biggest race victory came in the 2009 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick.

Another Group 1 winner who will be lured to the nation’s capital by the lucrative prizemoney on offer for this time of year is Coniston Bluebird.

After winning the 2009 New Zealand Derby, Coniston Bluebird’s career was dealt a blow when he suffered a suspensory ligament injury as a four-year-old.

The Bede Murray-trained gelding had been disappointing since returning to racing in September but showed a small glimpse of his former best when fifth last start in the $125,000 Listed Gosford Gold Cup (2100m).

Last start winners Altier and Victorian galloper Red Buttons are also nominated for a trip to Canberra where they could win the biggest race of their careers to date.

Red Buttons is in career best form having posted three straight wins while the Gregory Hickman-trained Altier continued to show he is a promising middle distance/staying type with a last start win at Rosehill over 1800m on November 13.

Other runners with the highest Benchmark ratings amongst nominations include stakes winners Spinney, Bellagio Wynn, Deltona and Get Up Jude.

Local runners expected to run in their home town cup include the Nick Olive-trained Voice Commander and last years Canberra Cup winner Macknuckle.

Gallopers-trained at Thoroughbred Park have taken out the Canberra Cup in four of its past five runnings.

Supporting races on the program include the $40,000 Myer Fashions On The Field Open Handicap (1200m) and the Inglis Bonus Black Opal Qualifier 2YO Open Handicap (1000m).

Some of the local area’s best sprinters will contest the 1200m Open Handicap including metropolitan winners Grand Rhumba, New Edge and Beyond Expectation.

The 2YO Black Opal Qualifier has attracted 10 nominations including the Norm Gardner-trained pair of Le Commando and Shout It Out.

Other juveniles to contest the event such as debutants Jackpot Queen, Nineveh’s Wish and Oriental Express all had their first barrier trials at Thoroughbred Park on November 15.

The winner of Sunday’s Black Opal Qualifier (1000m) will be exempt from ballot for the $250,000 Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) which is to be conducted at Canberra on March 13 next year.

In addition, the winner of the event on Sunday will also receive a $50,000 Inglis bonus if they were purchased as a yearling from any Inglis yearling sale last season.

Weights for Sunday’s Canberra Cup meeting are released tomorrow afternoon while the acceptances and barrier draw are to be finalised the following morning.