Hobart Cup runner-by-runner preview

The Hobart Cup is this weekend.
The Hobart Cup is this weekend.

A field of 10 has accepted for the 150th running of the Group 3 Ladbrokes Hobart Cup.

Four interstate horses are in the final field; the last Tasmanian-trained horse to win the Cup was Toorak Affair in 2020.

Matt Reid has provided a runner-by-runner preview, including his assessed prices, for the $300,000 feature.

Aurora's Symphony (2) – Assessed Price $11

The winner of the last two Launceston Cups bypassed Hobart when winning those races and, as such, will have his first start in the south of Tasmania. An impressive last-start Flemington winner, history is against him having to lug 59.5kg, but it is a weight he carried to victory in the 2023 Colac Cup. He's drawn to do little work in the run but could lack a turn of foot under the big impost.

Alhambra Lad (9) – Assessed Price $30

Patrick Payne and Jye McNeil won this race in 2021 with Double You Tee, and they'll have the race favourite in 2024. He jumped $2.50 when arrogantly winning the Summer Cup despite a wide run. He's a three-time winner out to 2400m and is clearly the one to beat if McNeil has any luck slotting in from barrier 9/10. That said, as shown in the Summer Cup, it may not matter anyway.

Swoop Dog (8) – Assessed Price $20

Swoop Dog finished sixth in this race last year, which came off the back of wins in the Longford, Devonport & Summer Cups. Despite being winless this campaign, it's hard to argue he's going much worse. He had the run of the race in the Summer Cup but wasn't as strong late as those who finished ahead of him. He'll relish getting some weight relief, but I query him running out a strong 2400m.

Ashy Boy (6) – Assessed Price $9

Five starts this Tasmanian campaign have returned three wins and two seconds, making him the best local hope of a Hobart Cup victory. He was no match for Alhambra Lad in the Summer Cup but does meet him 2.5kg better returning to handicap conditions. Stable, horse and rider are all flying this campaign and I'd be very surprised if he didn't run well again.

Grand Pierro (7) – Assessed Price $4.80

The booking of three-time Hobart Cup-winning jockey Craig Williams is a positive for Grand Pierro, who arguably should have beaten Alhambra Lad home when they met at Caulfield just prior to Christmas. The 4YO has since been placed in the 2800m Bagot Handicap, which was 37 days ago. He's a stayer on the rise and the horse I have as clearly the biggest threat to the favourite.

Wyclif (1) – Assessed Price $18

It's a coup for the race having a trainer with Ciaron Maher's status in the race as he brings across the well-travelled Wyclif. His best recent run was three starts ago, working home strongly in a quickly run race that saw the speed runners on tired legs late. Generally a horse that settles back in his races, the inside draw could be awkward in a race that's unlikely to be run at a fast pace.

Assaranca (5) – Assessed Price $16

The 6YO mare has done more than enough leading into the Hobart Cup, finishing strongly in both WFA lead-ups, giving her the platform to peak out to a distance that she was victorious over in last year's St Leger. Her racing pattern is a negative, particularly in these big races, but she's one that's likely to be over the odds and could easily spice up exotics.

Rising Light (10) – Assessed Price $60

He finished sixth in this race last year but undeniably was having a much better campaign. I suspect Codi Jordan tries to lead from barrier 10, and if given a soft time in front, that would be her best chance of finishing in the front half of the field.

Travelling Gigolo (4) – Assessed Price $15

All six of Travelling Gigolo's career wins have been on the track, and he finished second in this race last year. He was fourth-up into the Cup last year, which included both WFA lead-ups, but this year he's third-up after going from the Tas Stakes into the Summer Cup. I would've liked to see him hit the line a bit better last time, but no doubt this race has been a long-range target, and I won't be surprised if he runs a bold race.

Metaverse (3) – Assessed Price $100

Not beaten far in last Sunday's Sydeston Cup, that race was a far more winnable assignment for 66-rater Metaverse, who has been a great addition this campaign for trainer Angela Brakey and connections.