AUSTRALIAN Bloodstock director Luke Murrell can pick a Doomben Cup winner and he believes Articus has what it takes to be that on Saturday.
The Darren Weir-trained French-bred stallion was equal TAB Fixed Odds favourite at $4.40 with It’s Somewhat for the 2000-metre group 1 on Wednesday after drawing gate eight of 16.
Hunter syndicators Australian Bloodstock had high hopes for Articus on debut in Australia in last year’s Caulfield Cup but it finished 13th and had the same finish at the track first-up this preparation. The five-year-old hit back to win in the Chairman's Club Handicap (1800m) at Flemington on May 6 after being scratched from the Hollindale Stakes on the Gold Coast when bumped from a flight.
Articus had no trouble catching a flight this week and will give Australian Bloodstock a chance at winning a second Doomben Cup. Mawingo, trained by Anthony Freedman, survived a protest to take out the 2012 Cup for the company.
“He’s probably a better horse than Mawingo, who we won the race with, and it’s probably a weaker race too, so hopefully,” Murrell said of Articus’ hopes.
Newcastle trainer Kris Lees’ Sense Of Occasion was a $7.50 shot despite drawing the extreme outside. Newcastle-raised jockey Blake Spriggs will ride the John Thompson-trained Astronomos (gate 11, $41).
The Lees-trained Brook Road, for Australian Bloodstock, and Savoureux are in the listed Bright Shadow (1200m). Murrell said it could be Brook Road’s last race before heading to the broodmare sales.