Go on a Cruise in Race 9
Anthony Nune's SOUTHERN CRUISE has the distance and an expected fast pace in his favour tomorrow afternoon when he takes on 11 rivals in a restricted allowance race at 1820 metres.
The gelding is hunting back-to-back wins after beating United States-bred BRAWN by two lengths at 1500 metres on August 29, clocking a decent 1:32.2 for the distance.
Third in July's St Leger, behind SUPERLUMINAL and SEEKING MY DREAM, SOUTHERN CRUISE is susceptible to speed in middle-distance races, but relishes two-turn races in which he can stalk and pounce over the final two furlongs.
Bar stablemate HOUDINI'S MAGIC, BRAWN and last Saturday's winner, back-to-form ORIGINAL TRAIN, SOUTHERN CRUISE has little to fear at 1820 metres.
HOUDINI'S MAGIC is on a hat-trick, having slammed ORIGINAL TRAIN by seven lengths when previously raced in July.
However, Shane Ellis opting for SOUTHERN CRUISE ahead of HOUDINI'S MAGIC, aboard whom he had won in an upset victory at 1400 metres on September 26, is a clear indicator of his assessment of the stablemates.
ORIGINAL TRAIN appeared back to his best last week when he recovered from a poor start to chase and beat BONGO KING on a fast track at 1400 metres. Having finished ahead of SOUTHERN CRUISE in the Governor's Cup and Derby, he could close strongly at 1820 metres.
SOUTHERN CRUISE, however, is the class act in the line-up. In the St Leger, he spent almost the entire backstretch bogged down behind horses before Shamaree Muir switched him outside leaving the half-mile. He closed best in the stretch run thereafter to finish third, two and a quarter lengths behind SUPERLUMINAL and a length off Derby winner SEEKING MY DREAM.
He was outsped at a mile in his next race after the St Leger, beaten six and three quarter lengths by speedy DRIPPING IN GOLD at a mile. However, DRIPPING IN GOLD had no matching speed that afternoon, dragging SOUTHERN CRUISE off his bridle much too early than he would have wanted to, chasing splits of 46.2 and 1:10.2.
Tomorrow, there is enough cheap speed to go around, setting it up for SOUTHERN CRUISE to outclass any threat from the stayers in the event.