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Photo: Steve Hart
Photo: Steve Hart

By Michael Wrona, International Racing Expert

The Grade 1 Doomben Cup highlights a monster card this Friday night in Brisbane, Australia, as ten races have attracted 149 entries (not including Also Eligibles). Last year's trifecta horses return, with Huetor striving to become just the second horse to "three-peat" since the Doomben Cup was inaugurated in 1933. A supporting Grade 2 stakes will feature the first starter Down Under for American owner John Stewart's Resolute Racing. Tutta La Vita, who cost Stewart AU$3.2 million, contests a red-hot prep race for the June 7 Queensland Oaks. With wagering value abounding, watch live on and FanDuel TV this Friday's first post of 9:08 p.m. Eastern / 6:08 p.m. Pacific.

Even if Huetor emulates the trio of Doomben Cup wins by Rough Habit, he won't occupy the same revered place as the champion New Zealand gelding who won numerous other major races during his annual raids on Brisbane's "Winter Racing Carnival." Rough Habit's 74-start career inspired a book, and a stakes race named in his honor graced last weekend's Doomben card. Five weeks after famously winning his third Doomben Cup in 1993, Rough Habit contested the Hollywood Gold Cup (finishing out of the money in his only start on dirt). 

While Rough Habit was a fan favorite who developed a cult following, Huetor has played the role of spoiler, upsetting the past two Doomben Cups at 15-1 and 9-1 (and winning two starts ago at 14-1). Huetor (6-1 for the 2024 renewal) is not the only horse who relishes Brisbane's mild winter climate. 

Numerian (7-1) was a Grade 2 winner at 20-1 in June of 2022, finished 2nd in last year's Doomben Cup at 9-1, and sprang back to form when winning the Hollindale Stakes two weeks ago at 30-1.

Kovalica (5-2 favorite) was 3rd at 12-1 in last year's Doomben Cup – as a 3-year-old – in between a pair of graded stakes wins against his own age. A subsequent campaign failed when Kovalica was trained as a miler, but Chris Waller has the horse building back up to what he now acknowledges is Kovalica's best distance: 1-1/4miles. 

Detonator Jack (9-2) makes his first visit to Brisbane, but figures strongly after three excellent efforts in mile races this year. The Doomben Cup, run at weight-for-age for a purse of AU$1 million, is the 9th race on Friday night's program.

The Grade 1 Queensland Oaks on June 7 has been touted as a likely highlight of the 2024 Brisbane Winter Carnival and, based on the field assembled for a key prep race this Friday night, that likelihood has become a certainty. The Grade 2 Doomben Roses (Race 8) pits several high-class 3-year-old fillies against each other at 1-1/4 miles – a furlong shorter than the Oaks. 

Scarlet Oak (3-1 co-favorite) won her career debut in New Zealand, then transferred to Chris Waller in Sydney and was sublime in winning her second Australian start. 

Molly Bloom (3-1) is trained in New Zealand, where she owns a Grade 1 win and a pair of Grade 2 victories. She was fabulous in defeat when making her Australian debut off a 3-month layoff, rallying gamely after traffic trouble when 2nd at the Sunshine Coast two weeks back. 

Tutta La Vita (6-1) has a trio of Grade 1 placings and remains with Chris Waller after her recent purchase by American John Stewart. Famously the underbidder for Winx's world record-breaking yearling filly, Stewart has since purchased other Australian yearlings as well as some established racetrack performers. Stewart explained that he met Chris Waller when visiting Australia, and "he seemed like a good person and really knowledgeable. It made me comfortable buying Tutta La Vita because he was already training the horse and thinks she hasn't reached her potential yet." 

Amazonian Lass, twice Grade 2-placed and a last-start winner over Molly Bloom; and in-form pace presence Poifect are each quoted at 8-1 in this enchanting renewal of The Roses.  

The Doomben card will be broadcast live on FanDuel TV this Friday night (First Post: 9:08 p.m. ET / 6:08 p.m. PT) alongside cards from Randwick, Newcastle, Gold Coast and Belmont. All races will be live-streamed in HD on the Sky Racing World App, and major ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWager, HPIbet, FanDuel and AmWager. Wagering is also available via these ADW platforms. Fans can get free access to live-streaming, past performances, and expert picks on all races at 

About Michael Wrona 

A native of Brisbane, Australia, Michael Wrona has called races in six countries. Michael's vast U.S. experience includes; race calling at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Arlington and Santa Anita, calling the 2000 Preakness on a national radio network and the 2016 Breeders' Cup on the International simulcast network. Michael also performed a race call voiceover for a Seinfeld episode called The Subway.

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