Ohoka Punter and Anthony Butt win the Pure Steel.
The big guns of the summer’s Group 1s will collide at Cranbourne tomorrow night to etch their names on the coveted Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup.
Melton trainer Amanda Grieve will have the favourite in her keeping, with Cougar Bourbon Pure Steel winner and Del-Re National A. G. Hunter Cup runner-up Ohoka Punter beautifully drawn in barrier two.
But the depth of talent is fitting of the event, including prized five-year-olds Messini and Yankee Rockstar, who have this season stamped themselves as Grand Circuit horses of the future.
Anthony Butt, who will drive Ohoka Punter in the Cup, said the $100,000 prize would be hotly contested.
“With any Group 1 race, they don’t give them away, they always attract nice fields and there are some nice horses in it,” Butt said.
“Messini is probably a future Grant Circuit star and Yankee Rockstar is the same. They will probably be the hardest to beat.”
But there is considerable confidence in the Ohoka Punter camp and for good reason. The former Kiwi was outstanding in a sensational showdown against Smolda in the Hunter Cup, when Mark Purdon’s raider found the front in the dying stages.
Ohoka Punter hasn’t raced since, having been a late nomination for the Terang Pacing Cup before being withdraw with a minor cold. Since then all has gone to plan and with country cups king Im Corzin Terror the only horse drawn inside him, all is in place for Ohoka Punter to shoot to the front and dictate the race.
“He’s got a great chance,” Butt said. “He raced really well since he come over from New Zealand and just got beaten a head in the Hunter Cup by Smolda, so that’s really good form leading into a race like this.
“Hopefully he’s in front, he’s drawn two and should be able to get across the one – Im Corzin Terror – he’s a great frontrunner. I don’t think there’s too much gate speed outside of him that could cross him, so he should be able to lead and from there he will be hard to beat.”
Victory would bring a 20th win and third Group 1 this Australian campaign – having clinched the Pure Steel and Neatline Homes Shepparton Gold Cup – and draw the outstanding pacer closer to the $1 million mark.
“He’s been a classy horse all his life, he won a Victoria Derby as a three-year-old over here and he’s got really good form in New Zealand, so he is one of those high class horses that’s a good chance no matter what race he’s in.”
The Decron Cranbourne Gold Cup is at 9pm on Saturday, followed by the Aldebaran Park The Knight Pistol trotters title at 9.30pm, when Keystone Del will attempt to keep at bay Arboe and Glenferrie Typhoon.
CRANBOURNE CUP CHAMPIONS
1965 $900 Beaslee (Dave Wilson) 12yds 12f176yds SS 2:10.6
1966 $1,000 Bon Adios (Bill Shinn) 12yds 12f176yds SS 2:14.0
1967 $1,200 Lord Setay (Dick Benger) 12yds 12f176yds SS 2:10.6
1968 $1,200 Garry Rowan (Dave Wilson) FT 12f176yds SS 2:17.2
1969 $1,200 Bar Adios (Ralph Ford) FT 12f176yds SS 2:12.4
1970 $1,500 Bar Adios (Ralph Ford) 12yds 12f176yds SS 2:10.6
1971 $3,000 Banana Spring (Russell Thomson) FT 12f176yds SS 2:14.8
1972 $3,000 Nicotine Prince (Ron Peace) 12yds 12f200yds SS 2:10.2
1973 $3,500 Spike (Denis McIntyre) FT 2600m SS 2:06.8
1974 $6,000 Adios Victor (Arthur Bray) FT 2600m SS 2:09.4
1976 $8,000 Grand Crown (John Cascun) FT 2600m SS 2:08.4
1977 $8,000 Gallagher (Gordon Rothacker) FT 2600m MS 2:04.4
1978 $8,000 Tan Heel (Ken Rickard) FT 2600m MS 2:06.8
1979 $8,000 Gay Hondo (Graham Moon) FT 2600m MS 2:06.3
1980 $10,000 Paleface Adios (Colin Pike) FT 2600m MS 2:06.7
1981 $12,000 Koala King (Brian Gath) FT 2600m MS 2:03.1
1982 $15,000 Jikk Adios (Brian Hancock) FT 2600m MS 2:07.6
1983 $16,550 Gammalite (Bruce Clarke) FT 2600m MS 2:01.8
1984 $27,500 Sinn Fein (Greg Harper) FT 2600m MS 2:03.9
1984 $20,000 Thor Lobell (Vin Knight) FT 2600m MS 2:03.1
1985 $28,000 Glenn's Thunder (Vic Frost) FT 2600m MS 2:01.5
1986 $43,000 Quite Famous (Jim O'Sullivan) FT 2600m MS 2:03.6
1987 $50,000 Ima Orphan (Vin Knight) FT 2600m MS 2:05.4
1988 $50,000 Riverlea Jack (Gavin Lang) FT 2600m MS 2:02.6
1989 $50,000 Empire Fella (Peter Ward) FT 2600m MS 2:00.6
1990 $50,000 Its Motor Power (Jim O'Sullivan) FT 2600m MS 2:07.0
1992 $30,000 Master Musician NZ (Ted Demmler) FT 2600m MS 2:00.0
1993 $20,000 The Unicorn NZ (Stephen Dove) FT 2600m MS 2:02.3
1994 $20,020 Golden Reign (Chris Alford) FT 2600m MS 2:00.3
1995 $20,000 Knight Rainbow NZ (Chris Alford) FT 2600m MS 2:00.1
1996 $25,100 Lucky Camilla (Max Wishart) FT 1609m MS 2:01.8
1997 $15,000 Golden Reign (John Caldow) 50m 2560m SS 2:03.5
1998 $20,000 Our Millers Road (Jodi Quinlan) FT 2560m SS 2:05.4
1999 $20,000 Maltese Cavalier (Daryl Douglas) 10m 2555m SS 2:02.4
2000 $15,000 Tailamade Lombo (Chris Alford) FT 2555m MS 2:01.6
2001 $30,000 Go Charles NZ (Kerryn Manning) 10m 2585m SS 2:04.5
2002 $30,000 All For One (Brian Gath) FT 2585m SS 2:01.8
2003 $50,000 Mister D G NZ (Anthony Butt) FT 2585m MS 1:59.3
2003 $40,000 Seelster Sam NZ (Brian Gath) 20m 2585m SS 2:02.2
2004 $50,000 Sparkling Melody (Shane Graham) FT 2585m MS 2:01.4
2005 $50,000 Robin Hood (Gavin Lang) FT 2585m MS 2:01.3
2006 $50,000 The Warp Drive (Jodi Quinlan) FT 2585m MS 1:59.9
2007 $60,000 Sting Lika Bee (Jodi Quinlan) FT 2585m MS 1:59.8
2008 $60,000 Mister Swinger (Geoff Webster) FT 2585m MS 2:00.4
2009 $60,000 Bettors Strike NZ (Dexter Dunn) FT 2555m MS 2:02.9
2009 $60,000 Ohoka Nevada NZ (Damian Wilson) FT 2555m MS 2:02.9
2010 $100,000 Im Themightyquinn NZ (Gary Hall (Jnr)) FT 2555m MS 1:57.4
2011 $100,000 Mr Feelgood USA (Luke McCarthy) FT 2555m MS 1:58.8
2012 $100,000 Terrorway NZ (John McCarthy) FT 2555m MS 1:56.5
2013 $100,000 The Gold Ace NZ (Andy McCarthy) FT 2555m MS 1:58.9
2014 $100,000 Terror To Love NZ (Ricky May) FT 2555m MS 1:57.1
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