Hobart Cup Preview 2024

The first of Tasmania’s two big cups headlines a stellar day at Hobart on Sunday.

The Group 3 Hobart Cup (2400m) has been a race for the raiders of late. The past three editions have all been won by interstate trainers, although the locals did enjoy a good stretch prior, winning five of the previous six.

This year, four of the 10 runners are from interstate, making up 40% of the field, but they collectively account for 82.2% of a still relatively weak market.

Half of that is taken up by the race favourite, Alhambra Lad, who came to the apple isle rated to a peak of 103 by Timeform, and he effectively matched that, running to 102 in his 3.5 length win in the Listed Summer Cup (2200m).

He easily accounted for third placed Swoop Dog, who was below his best on that occasion. His two runs prior, albeit when beaten, both rated 102 on Timeform's scale, and that is about as good as Swoop Dog goes.

He's got to be a query stepping up further in trip given he struggled badly in last year's Hobart Cup, and a 3lbs weight swing isn't enough to think he'll get close.

The same could be said for Summer Cup second placegetter Ashy Boy, who has been in great form since transferring to the Glenn Stevenson stable, a peak rating of 95 last time seemingly all he has to offer.

The different form comes from the other raiders who haven't had a lead up run in Tasmania, and of those, Grand Pierro is the highest rated, at least at the weights.

At the weights, he brings the best last start rating into this, having run to 102 (the same rating Alhambra Lad ran last start) in the Bagot Handicap at Flemington last time out.

That was a bit of a spike for Grand Pierro, who was battling away in the mid 90s prior, including running to 94 when behind Alhambra Lad at Caulfield the start prior, meeting him 2lbs worse at the weights here.

Grand Pierro started $6 on that occasion, which is what Ladbrokes have him for the Hobart Cup, to Alhambra Lad's $2.60, a touch bigger than the $2.30 he is with Ladbrokes on Sunday.

A repeat of last start would certainly make things interesting, but given he was largely unfancied to win the Bagot, he's more likely to regress to the mean and dip back into the 90s on Sunday.

The tricky one to line and the horse with the highest Timeform rating in the race, is Aurora's Symphony, who ran to 109 last start at Flemington in a Bm100 over 2000m.

That was a huge reversal of form from his first two runs this campaign, but there's no doubt he is the best credentialed horse in the field. He won the Launceston Cup last year running to 103 and then ran to 107 when second in the Adelaide Cup over two miles.

At the weights, we make him rated equal to Alhambra Lad off their last start, but it's whether Aurora's Symphony can repeat that, or potentially even improve again.

$7 with Ladbrokes is probably fair. I think there's a case to be made he should be shorter than both Swoop Dog and Ashy Boy given how easily Alhambra Lad accounted for that pair last time.

The edge is still strongly with the favourite, given I think he could potentially improve again and gets in well at the weights. Patrick Payne knows the horse to bring down here having won the Hobart Cup in 2021 with Double You Tee, who only had to run to 101 to win comfortably.

With any luck in running, Alhambra Lad has the ratings and consistency to take this out again and while others can claim to match him on occasion, he is far more likely to run to his peak than them. We'll wait and see what the Ladbrokes market does as it gets closer to jump time, but $2.50 would be a fair price.


Tip: #2 Alhambra Lad - $2.30 at Ladbrokes*
Danger: #1 Aurora's Symphony - $7 at Ladbrokes*

*Odds correct at 1:20pm, 8/2/24

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