BART Cummings has ominously declared Precedence a s u p e r i o r 2 0 0 0 m e t r e F l e m i n g t o n h o r s e t o Sirmione who only j ust failed to win his second Australian Cup a year ago.
Cummings said he was confident Sirmione would give him his 14th Australian Cup last year but believes Precedence can set the record straight today.
‘‘ I think he is better stayer on this course at a mile and a q u a r t e r ( 2 0 0 0 m) t h a n Sirmione, and he was pretty good,’’ Cummings said.
Sirmione won t he 2008 Australian Cup four months after a shock win at $ 61 in the G r o u p O n e M a c k i n n o n Stakes ( 2000m) at Flemington on Derby Day.
A year later be broke down getting ready for the 2009 Australian Cup but came back last year and went down in a photo-finish to Zipping while his stablemate Moatize was third.
‘‘ I was confident last year he ( Sirmione) would win and he just got beaten,’’ Cummings said.
‘‘ I thought he had almost won it. There was nothing in it, just a bob of the head.’’
Cummings said Precedence was a tough stayer but was set an impossible mission last year in the Melbourne Cup when he got too far back.
‘‘ I don’t really want to say much about it but he was in the second division of the race without any reason to be there,’’ Cummings said. bourne Cup again this year.
He said the Zabeel fiveyear-old, who is $ 6.50 for the Australian Cup with TAB Sportsbet, had trained on strongly after his second to $ 4.60 Cup favourite Heart Of Dreams in the St George Stakes ( 1800m) at Caulfield two weeks ago.
‘‘ During the week he ran his last three furlongs ( 600m) in 37 seconds out near the outside running rail on the course proper,’’ Cummings said.
‘‘ Whether it was a winning gallop time will tell, but I think it was.’’
Steven Arnold will ride Precedence but Cummings conceded barrier 13 in the 15-horse field was a concern.
‘‘ Barrier three instead of 13 would have been Cummings said.
‘‘ I would like to see him midfield but it makes it hard to do that from an outside barrier so he will have to ride him for a bit of luck to start with.
‘‘ To get there ( midfield) he might have to be two or three wide which is a big area to cover from the seven ( furlongs, 1400m) to around the home turn in the straight.’’
The Flemington track was rated a dead ( 4) yesterday afternoon but Cummings was hoping for more cushion to boost Precedence’s chances. ‘‘ There won’t be as much m o i s t u r e a s t h e y f i r s t thought which is unfortunate because my horse loves the wet,’’ Cummings said.