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Easter Cup Tips and Preview - Essential guide to the Easter Cup at Gloucester Park

Trent Orwin in Harness 12 Apr 2017
  • Tips and Preview for the Easter Cup at Gloucester Park
  • Ohoka Punter can be beaten
  • Greg and Skye Bond prepare my top pick
Ohoka Punter (Credit: Stuart McCormick/HRV)

The Group 3 Easter Cup (2902m) will be run at Gloucester Park and Trent Orwin previews Thursday night's feature. 

Two horses look standouts over their opposition. 

One is Grand Circuit performer Ohoka Punter who has captured races such as the Victoria Derby and Blacks A Fake. He was narrowly beaten in the 2016 AG Hunter Cup won by Smolda. 

The other is up-and-coming pacer Galactic Star who I consider to be an open-class horse with 14 wins from 28 starts. 

Remaining runners include iron-horse Shardons Rocket, sit-sprinter El Machine and a string of regular stand horses. 

With the race being run over 2902m and being a standing-start event, we have an entertaining race that could see a blowout result; I still think the favourites will be very hard to beat and that is the way I will be tipping. 

Bashful Compton, Importer Exporter and Assassinator can all fly the tapes from their front-line handicaps. Bashful Compton would be looking for a sit on one of the other two while Importer Exporter could hold the lead or wait to hand to a horse such as Galactic Star. 

Galactic Star has a fair bit of class on the front-line runners and there is the possibility that they will be happy sitting on that horse. Ohoka Punter is going to land the spot outside of the leader at some point and driver Ryan Warwick will know this and will be keen to get Galactic Star to the lead in a bid to prevent Ohoka Punter finding that position.

The early market has Ohoka Punter a short-priced favourite and I expect him to drift out to at least even money with Galactic Star engaged. The reason being is that Ohoka Punter begins from 50m and Galactic Star from 10m – a 40m handicap is not easy to overcome when you have an opponent that is a very talented horse.

I have Galactic Star favourite due to the conditions and he has an excellent stand record of five wins and a second from six attempts. 

Trained by Greg and Skye Bond, the four-year-old gelding has won three of his past four starts. At his latest, he was victorious in The Clarke Final. He defeated Vultan Tin by 3.4m and that horse has since won the Group 3 Narrogin Cup (2662m) over Im Full Of Excuses which is strong form considering Im Full Of Excuses had decimated Our Jimmy Johnstone in the Harvey Cup (2569m).

Galactic Star is a level below fellow four-year-olds Chicago Bull and Soho Tribeca while Ohoka Punter is arguably a half-level above them but they are still on the improve.

Ohoka Punter is my second pick despite his 50m handicap and his debut effort at Gloucester Park was awesome. He sat 1 out 1 back and made a three-wide move to land the breeze in the final circuit before drawing clear of American Boy in 1:55.5.

El Machine has each-way claims after a runner up performance behind American Boy in 1:53.9 and the 10m handicap is suitable for a horse that would probably cop 20 or 30m in a regular metro stand. 

Assassinator has been racing well in country stands but lacks the talent of his stablemate Galactic Star. He has small winning claims but needs things to go right in order to prevail.

Selections: 7-12-8-4

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Easter Cup Tips and Preview - Essential guide to the Easter Cup at Gloucester Park

The Group 3 Easter Cup (2902m) will be run at Gloucester Park and Trent Orwin previews Thursday night's feature.

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