The bookies are tipping the Doomben 10,000 form to hold in Brisbane this weekend with place-getters Paulele and Entriviere fighting for favouritism in the Group 1 $700,000 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1300m).
The third elite level on the extended Queensland Derby Day card at Eagle Farm on Saturday, this season’s Kingsford-Smith Cup is shaping up as a two-horse battle between Godolphin-raced three-year-old Paulele and smart Kiwi-trained mare Entriviere.
The pair ran second and third respectively at the track last time out behind Mazu in the Group Doomben 10,000 (1200m) and are tipped to dominate the Kingsford-Smith Cup results when they renew their rivalry.
The early market mover and new favourite into $4.40 in the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au is the James Cummings-trained Dawn Approach colt Paulele.
A six-time winner from 15 starts, the classy chestnut has run top three his latest three and is desperate to return to winning form for the Royal Blue brigade.
In the autumn he was good when finishing off the TJ Smith Stakes trifecta behind Nature Strip and Eduardo before a third to Mazu in the mud for the Arrowfield 3YO Sprint.
He was beaten a nose in the Doomben 10,000 and has jockey James McDonald in the saddle again on a firmer track from a good gate in the Kingsford-Smith.
Mark Walker’s smart Tavistock mare Entriviere meanwhile chases her first win since the Group 1 NZ Railway Stakes (1200m) on New Year’s Day across the Tasman when with Jamie Richards.
Her Doomben 10,000 placing from a wide gate was excellent and, after copping a hefty 55.5kg in the weights for the upcoming Group 1 $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), the stable has opted to roll the dice with her this weekend at WFA.
“Originally it was the plan to skip it (the Kingsford-Smith Cup), but with the weather around we decided to have a bit of a rethink about it,” Walker told News Corp this week.
“When the weights came out for the Stradbroke, we felt it wasn’t really a winnable weight so we had a good, hard think about it and decided to go this Saturday.
“I knew with Kementari in there, he’d be top weight so it gave me a rough idea of what we would get – I was hoping there might be another horse that was a late arrival and come in ahead of him.
“She has put on five kilos since her last race so we are very happy with her and thought we’d roll the dice.
“When she got out onto the better ground last time, she flew home so that was why we changed our mind a little bit.
“We did think she’d go good first up but it was always going to be hard with the barrier draw. She has always proven to be a high-class mare.”
Entriviere will need to be good again however copping an early blow with barrier 17 and has eased out from top elect to the now $4.60 second favourite.
The early Kingsford-Smith Cup market mover in from $15 to $11 is the locally trained Apache Chase for Desleigh Forster and hoop Jim Byrne.
Drawn gate six, the ultra-consistent Better Than Ready four-year-old is a seven-time winner from a dozen starts at the Eagle Farm track.
He’s been in excellent from the past six months and was last seen running second to Emerald Kingdom at Rockhampton on May 7 in The Archer (1300m), the form of which is looking very good ahead of the weekend’s racing back in Brisbane.
Also being kept safe in betting are the likes of the Gregory Hickman-trained Magic Millions Cup champion from January Eleven Eleven ($13) to be ridden by Hugh Bowman from barrier four, and Ellsberg ($14) last seen running third to Cascadian in Sydney’s Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) six weeks ago.
The Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained Sierra Sue (20) meanwhile has been withdrawn due to an elevated temperature, paving the way for the first emergency Scallopini (9) to gain a run on the back of his lead-up second in the Group 2 Victory Stakes here in late April.
The 2022 Kingsford-Smith Cup is scheduled to run as the penultimate event on the 10-race card jumping at 3:58pm (AEST).