Path To Cup Glory Via Geelong

Dunaden notched the Geelong Cup/Melbourne Cup double in 2011.

The Geelong Cup has been a very solid guide to the Melbourne Cup for a number of years. International stars Dunaden (2011), Americain (2010) and Media Puzzle (2002) all won the Geelong Cup before tasting success in the race that stops a nation 13 days later.

Another overseas raider Bauer further franked the form winning the 2008 Geelong Cup before going down to Viewed by the narrowest of margins in the Melbourne Cup. In 2014, there are no internationally trained horses lining up at Geelong.

This give locals another chance to enjoy the Geelong journey, just like South Australian On A Jeune did in 2005 winning the $300,000 country feature, before running second to Makybe Diva when she notched her third consecutive Melbourne Cup.

This year, almost all the runners at Geelong remain in Melbourne Cup reckoning. Topweight Sertorious is the class runner and will appreciate the drop back to Group 3 level after four Group 1 outings. Currently the seven-year-old is 19th in order of entry for the Cup. This is his fourth run this campaign and the step up to 2400m is ideal.

Patrick Payne's mare Zanbagh is another who will appreciate the longer journey. She drops 3kg from her last start third in the Benalla Cup, which signalled a return to form. Six months ago, the daughter of Bernardini split Rising Romance and Lucia Valentina when second in the Australian Oaks at Randwick. Those two mares have certainly proven that form (filling the placings in last Saturday's Caulfield Cup behind Japan's Admire Ratki). Like Sertorious, Zanbagh has met Cup qualifications and is 21st in order of entry.

Robert Smerdon's ex Kiwi mare More Than Sacred is another well fancied by punters after her barnstorming second to Mourinho in the Cranbourne Cup. She won the New Zealand Oaks over 2400m 19 months ago, has won three of seven at the distance and has form behind Who Shot Thebarman back home.

The other feature events on a big day at Geelong are the Black Pearl Classic for fillies and mares over 1200m and the Listed Geelong Classic over 2200m for three-year-olds.

Chris Bombolas - Tatts Senior Writer

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