2018 Geelong Cup Preview & Tips

October 24th 2018, 4:26am, By: tim_tips

The Group 3 Geelong Cup headlines racing on Wednesday, October 24th, with the race sure to have a significant bearing on the field for the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, November 6th. We have

GEELONG CUP RUNNER-BY-RUNNER PREVIEW

FINCHE

Former French galloped having his first Australian start for the Chris Waller stable. Three wins from eight career starts thus far and he had a three-start preparation earlier this year where he just didn’t seem to come up. Outside of that, his form has been very sound. He showed he was back to his best with a first up win in G3 company over 2500m in August and once again comes into this fresh. In that victory, he defeated Tiberian, who ran 7th in last year’s Melbourne Cup after a horrid trip, so that appears a strong reference for the Geelong Cup.

ONE FOOT IN HEAVEN

Comes off a 2n lacing to Big Blue on heavy ground in Sydney. The form out of that is a big query and the form out of his previous run behind the likes of Ace High, It’s Somewhat and Egg Tart is also questionable. Best form has been on wet ground, likely to struggle here. Also gets glue on shoes on for the first time.

WITHHOLD

Unsurprisingly has attracted good support in the market. He’s a UK stayer from the Roger Charlton stable with Kerrin McEvoy booked to ride. He’s won four of his 11 career starts, but notably all of those four wins have come in his past six starts. He’s yet to win over the 2400m trip but has placed in four of his six starts at the distance. Looks better suited to the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup given three of his four wins have come over 3200m+, but I don’t think he faces an overly strong field here and he’s an in-form European stayer, which means he’ll take plenty of beating.

WALL OF FIRE

Was beaten a long way in the G1 The Metropolitan first up before a 4th placing behind Big Blue on heavy ground last time out. That form looks suspect and although on his best form he’d be pretty competitive in a race like this, what he’s shown so far this prep is far from where he needs to be.

ZACADA

He rarely does anything first, second or third up from a spell, but he’s been beaten 10.5L, 8.7L and 8.1L in his first three runs this prep. I’d expect to see some improvement now with those runs under his belt but he’s hardly put the writing on the wall to suggest he will be competitive.

CASTERTON

Another French stayer on debut for the Waller stable. Two starts ago he ran 4th in the race won by Finche, where he was beaten 2.75L. Holds a good first up record with one win and three 2nd placings from four runs, but he probably prefers the ground a touch wetter than what he’s likely to get here. He’s only finished out of the top two on one occasion on wet ground but is yet to win from seven starts on good ground. Not surprised if he runs a big race here but prefer the stablemate as more of a winning chance.

MIDTERM

Improved out of sight second up at Moonee Valley and wasn’t beaten far (1.6L) in the G1 The Metropolitan last start. That form is a little bit shonky though. That run over the 2400m will be beneficial to his chances today but he’s still yet to win from eight starts at the distance. Prefers the ground a bit softer than what he’ll get here. Still, can’t fully rule out this stable.

NORTHWEST PASSAGE

Decent each-way chance at $10. Has been steadily building this prep and after a luckless run two starts back, he ran a good race to finish 4th behind Avilius, Jaameh and Yogi last start. He was 2000m up to 2500m on that occasion so should once again improve off that. Blinkers come off again today but wouldn’t be surprised to see him lead this field up from barrier 1. Not the worst.

YOGI

Stable had set him to win the race last time out when he charged home from the back of the field to be beaten 1.4L by Avilius and Jaameh. That looks a decent reference for this and he’s sure to be hitting the line hard once again. Barrier 13 today which means he’ll get a long way back and have to start his run early. Definite winning chance but he might just prefer it a rating softer and with the Europeans drawing well, he might have too tough a task to run them down. Does have race fitness edge though.

HARIPOUR

Won three on the bounce before starting the $3.30 favourite in Sydney last start where he failed badly on the heavy ground. Back onto firm ground today will suit him and he’s got a good record at the distance, as well as a good draw in barrier 7 today. Expect him to be a big improver.

RUNAWAY

Probably ready to win now he’s had two runs back from a spell. Maybe one run at 2400m leading into this would have had him cherry ripe but the trip shouldn’t prove any problem based on his form from last prep. The form behind Furrion from his first two starts this preparation looks solid enough. Blinkers come off today but either way, from the wide draw you’d expect him to roll across and find a prominent position. Knockout hope at $26.

GUARDINI

Beaten 8L and 6.8L in two starts this preparation but has got two wins from four starts when third up. He did show something second up last prep before failing third up and pulling up lame. Drawn nicely but looks hard to recommend overall.

MASTER ZEPHYR

Won the Hamilton Cup last start in a return to form but if you go off his form prior to that, you’d have stablemate Haripour ahead of him. Yet to place in five starts in this class and not drawn well at all. His win last start might see him gain some confidence but can’t recommend him.

CHEQUERED FLAG

Beaten 8.2L, 8L and 13L in three starts this preparation. Has a great record at this distance but he’s much better suited on wet ground and probably heading towards jumps races. The good draw helps – he might be able to run a cheeky race but wouldn’t expect to see him winning.

WHEAL LEISURE

Beaten 5.2L, 5.4L and 6.4L in three starts this preparation. She’s drawn well in barrier 5 and her best form would see her run a good race but she doesn’t look to be going well enough.

SELECTIONS

I’m pretty happy to play the two internationals at the top of the market here. Finche goes on top for mine. But for one disappointing preparation, his French form is very good for this race and he’s drawn well for his first Australian start. Just hope Bowman doesn’t have his eye on Winx later this week! Withhold has been well-backed and his form in recent times has been imperious. My slight query is whether he’s going to be better suited to the 3200m of the Melbourne Cup but his staying strength and class may just prove too good anyway. Haripour can bounce back after failing on wet ground last time and stablemate Yogi will be hitting the line hard. Northwest Passage and Runaway both each way chances, while I expect Casterton to run well but the ground might be a bit too firm.

1st FINCHE

2nd WITHHOLD

3rd HARIPOUR

4th YOGI

TIPS

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