McAuliffe Plans Northam Cup Upset

Darren McAuliffe hopes his planning is spot on when Military Ruler attempts to cause an upset in the $125,000 XXXX-Gold Listed Northam Cup (1600m) on Sunday.

McAuliffe is optimistic he can score a second win in the Northam Cup after Rebelson dead-heated with Adam Durrant’s Son Of Something two years ago.

The Lark Hill trainer identified the Northam Cup as the ideal race for Military Ruler after the gelding enjoyed a lucrative winter campaign at Belmont.

The son of Universal Ruler won two races and placed twice from his five start preparation before being tipped out after he defeated Properantes in June.

A third in the Farnley Stakes (1400m) and a fifth behind Socially Unique in the Hannans Handicap (1400m) has him primed for his Northam Cup assault.

“I have been pleased by the way he is going and he has been set for this race,” McAuliffe said on Tabradio’s The Sports Daily.

“It’s the right sort of distance, the right sort of class and just where he is in his preparation.

“We try not to run him over the summer months because he has a few little feet issues.

“This race has always been the target and he has basically been taken patiently through his grades.

“He has taken a while to mature mentally, but I thought it was a nice race for him.

“If he jumps well and can control and dictate the race he will be in it for a long way because the mile is his trip.”

Military Ruler, to jump from barrier six for apprentice, Jordan Turner, is $14 with the TAB.

Heading the market at $2.60 is Chocolate Holic from the Grant and Alana Williams stable. The Blackfriars gelding a deserving favourite after winning four of his past five starts.

William Pike will reunite with Chocolate Holic and help offset a wide barrier.

On the second line of betting is Tonto, who with Young Lionel, gives Lou Luciani a potent two-pronged attack.

Tonto is rated a $4.60 chance after finishing powerfully behind Heart Starter when first up over 1400m at Bunbury last week.

The five-year-old gelding has a strong record over the mile and will relish being on the 54kg minimum.

Young Lionel is third up this preparation and will improve on his eighth placing in the Hannans when the race wasn’t run to suit.

The eight-year-old won last year’s Northam Cup when he upset the odds on favourite, Battle Hero.

Luciani said very little separated his two runners.

“They are both going into the race nice and fit,” Luciani said.

“Tonto was impressive first up and hit the line strongly.

“Young Lionel is coming out of the Hannans which wasn’t run to suit him, but he actually hit the line very well.

“He wasn’t beaten far and was making ground at the finish.

“I expect them to be both in the finish.”

Bet Now