FEATURE RACE PREVIEW: PERTH CUP

HUB WA Racing
HUB WA Racing

Betfair’s WA Racing Expert Terry Leighton takes a deeper look at the Perth Cup from Ascot.


ASCOT | 1 JANUARY

Rail Position: +6m Entire | Expected Track Condition: Good 4

With the ‘no hat, no play’ rule being enforced, Perth Cup Day has been thrown into chaos. NOT ONLY are we missing the Wizard and a bunch of his un-vaxxed mates, but we cannot drink our beers, while standing up. Deary me.

32 degrees is actually a coolish day considering the heat-wave we’ve had over Christmas and there looks to be a SW kicking up in the afternoon. Should be a nice fair deck at HQ.


Perth Cup – Race 9

Speed Map

Trap For Fools (Gate 9) and Cockney Crew (10) will ensure we have a truly run Perth Cup. While the old boy Trapper will have no major designs on handing up to Cockney Crew early, the latter would be keen to find the fence – could be interesting viewing.

Marocchino (6) and Black Shadow (11) look well placed to slip across to the leaders back and one-one positions, with Bad Wolf (2) and Neufbosc (3) getting soft runs in behind them.

The most interestingly drawn runner is Stafford’s Lad (1). Hasn’t been able to buy a gate in recent times, but now he finally does – is the inside gate going to be detrimental to his racing style? We’ve seen him sustain runs from the 600-800 throughout this elongated campaign, so from the inside marble he will probably have to win in a different fashion. It could well be a good thing – it’s a bit of an unknown.

Midnight Blue (4) is drawn perfectly, though is a one batting stayer so Paddy Carbery will want to ensure he isn’t locked away underneath runners when things get serious. Paddy’s Shadow (12), Platoon (13) & Tellem We’re Comin (15) naturally drift back anyway so the gates aren’t necessarily the end of the world. Not impossible the leaders are stopping here, and we see a bunched pack on straightening – could be a positive drawing wide and being put to sleep for the first 2000m.


Final Field

1. Trap For Fools

The old fella has looked a little tired at all trials/runs this prep, but I’m not willing to 100% write him off here (just 98%). The little speed battle with Cockney Crew early will be a fascinating watch (for losers like me). My Price: $31

2. Platoon

I’m warming more and more to Platoon. This bloke isn’t overly fashionable, but he’s comfortably had the best form-lines heading into this. Ridden against his usual pattern in the RJ Peters, he was brave when 2.2L from Kissonallforcheeks, before backing up in the Railway Stakes and running the second quickest L200 behind the plodder Western Empire. Was on heels late in the WFA Kingston Town, when doing his best work, before clearing out in second behind Regal Power in the Group 2 Ted (2100m), running the quickest L200 of the event. The obvious query is the 2400m, but a deep dive of his run in last year’s Perth Cup suggests it’s no issue. He’s ended up in the breeze for the first half of the race (Trap For Fools crossed at the 1200m pole), before getting cover. No right to give any type of yelp from there, but he came again on the line to hold 5th. Add that to his 3rd in the Melvista (2200m) as a 3yo and 2 x 3rd’s in Ted’s (2100m) and you gain more confidence in his ability over ground. Put to sleep out the back, if Steve Parnham lets all the carnage unfold and hooks wide, he’s got the differing/better form lines to make an impact. My Price: $6.30

3. Neufbosc

If Neufbosc runs any type of race in the Ted, I’d be near on declaring him here. But, he didn’t. He put in an old fashioned Barry Crocker, when tagging Regal Power and only floundering to the line. Very simply – his best wins this and probably wins it well. One for those forgiving souls out there. My Price: $9

4. Tellem We’re Comin

So big in the Towton Cup, when deep the trip and kept on coming to the line. For a horse who is a query past 1600, that is a huge effort – or is it just a query on that Towton form (vs the Railway/Kingston/Ted lines)? Still don’t know if he’ll have his usual turn of foot at the end of a truly run 2400. My Price: $51

5. Marocchino

Maps a treat but has really only battled at his last two. My Price: $51

6. Bad Wolf

Another who maps a treat but is a query on class and a big query at the 2400m. My Price: $20

7. Bella’s Idol

A fantastic and well deserved opportunity for Natasha Faithfull who is absolutely low flying in the country at the moment. I really like the booking, opting for a form jockey. Huge blow with the draw however – she’ll need to ride a 20/10 from the river to be any outside hope. My Price: $201

8. Black Shadow

Similar to Neufbosc – how much forgiveness off 1 bad run? Yes, he wasn’t suited last start with the stronger tempo/weak back he found/weight swings – but he was still disappointing. While #teamtaylor would have loved a softer draw, he should be able to follow the two leaders across and slot in right behind them. IF (big if), he repeats any of his prior 4 runs, he probably wins (will probably end up writing this about half the field). My Price: $10.50

9. Cockney Crew

Kieran McDonagh is never shy about spruiking this bloke, and had he drawn underneath Trap For Fools, he’d be significantly shorter in my book. He was in front of Regal Power for 2398m in the 2019 WATC Derby and will appreciate the big weight drop down to the 53 kegs here. The appointment of Shaun McGruddy cannot be underestimated. He’s absolutely low flying at the moment and tends to rate these on speed horses as well as anyone. If he crosses Trap For Fools and finds the fence early – I’ll probably regret not backing him. My Price: $19

10. Come Right Back

In one of the more open Perth Cups in recent history – this bloke isn’t impossible. Was racing Black Shadow (with success) last preparation and looks to have found some form at his two most recent outings. Not impossible. My Price: $31

11. Divine Shadow

Stranger things have happened? I don’t know if they have. Has the class to run a race, but has not come back at all this prep. My Price: $501

12. Midnight Blue

Was a huge effort in the ATA Stakes, after well-documented hoof issues left him a little underdone. The bar shoes go off here and he should be cherry ripe for another tilt at the Perth Cup. While he is my marked favourite, I can’t get him as short as his current price. I think he’s a good horse, but he isn’t necessarily a world-beater who deserves to go around ~$3.50 without William Pike in the saddle. Stafford’s Lad held him on merit late in the Tattersall’s (2100) and if you go back to last years Perth Cup (where Carbery was also on board), he gave him a proper 10/10, when finishing a world behind Neufbosc. Clearly, he can win, but I think this race provides better betting opportunities. My Price: $5.50

13. Paddy’s Shadow

Like Black Shadow, gets the weight swings on his competitors from the ATA. Was a good, without being brilliant run in that event, though the 4kg’s he gets on Stafford’s Lad should go close to evening up that leger. Should be peaking. My Price: $15

14. Pure Devotion

The jury has to be out on her over the 2400m. Going back to last year’s WA Oaks, she was home for all money when 100/1 pop Lunar Impact kicked back to steal victory. She then seemed to peak late in the 2200 of the Towton and was then collared by Stafford’s Lad in the ATA. Maps soft and no doubt goes close but probably doesn’t get to a backable price for me. My Price: $9

15. Stafford’s Lad

Do we see gate 1 as a positive for Staff? Was my likely (I’m very confused) on top selection for this event pre-barrier draw but I don’t think this bloke possesses the same ability to be held up ‘til he straightens then accelerate past them. He’s more your Andy Bichel – not overly flashy but can go all day – than your Shaun Tait type. Chris Parnham has built a strong affiliation with this bloke however and will know his strengths/weaknesses better than anyone. My Price: $10.50

16. Truly Reliable

A very good stayer in the making, but he’s a year away. My Price: $201


Terry Leighton’s Selections

1st – 2. Platoon

2nd – 3. Neufbosc

3rd – 8. Black Shadow

4th – 15. Stafford’s Lad

Betting Strategy

 BACK (EACH-WAY) — Platoon

I’ve got more confidence in England’s top order than this race.  But, it’s the cup and we’ve got to have a bet.  Platoon the go at current prices, but I’m willing to stay fairly fluid here and follow Betfair late against my book.  Hoping for an over bet on the Peters pair, to perhaps open up other betting opportunities.  Suspect Platoon only drifts from the current price, so I’d stay patient and utilise the exchange.


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