STUART Webb hopes Annus Mirabilis can continue a wonderful year for connections in Monday’s $400,000 UBET Adelaide Cup at Morphettville.
The richly-bred European, who came to Australia with Melbourne Cup aspirations before being set for a jumping career, has already exceeded expectations and Webb said he couldn’t fault Annus Mirabilis (Latin for wonderful year) heading into the two-mile feature.
“He’s going great. He’s been set for this since the Bagot and I can’t fault him,’’ Webb said.
“There’ll be some luck in running involved, but if he can be in the first three pairs, one off the fence, and get going when he needs to he’ll be in the mix.’’
Webb said their were excuses for Annus Mirabilis’ last outing in the Roy Higgins Quality, adding that Darren Weir’s Master Of Arts was clearly the horse to beat.
“Weary is hard to beat no matter what race you find him in,’’ the trainer said.
Weir, widely regarded as the best at having his horses peak for their target races, has taken an unconventional path to Monday’s race by giving the Lord Reims winner a 2400m hurdle trial at Warrnambool on Friday, while the horse will wear winkers for the first time.
UBET’s Gerard Daffy said Monday’s Group 2 feature was one of the most open Cups he had seen.
“You get open cups like this — but not with the spread of money we’ve seen with this race,’’ Daffy said.
“Other than the $201 pops, there has been good money for every other runner.
“Usually, 24 hours out, we’d have a clear path as to who is going to be favourite. It’s very, very strange. This one has got punters perplexed.’’
The Adelaide Cup field was cut to 19 on Sunday after three scratchings — Choysa, who was well beaten at Morphettville on Saturday, and the Mick Kent-trained pair of Oncidium Ruler and Bayanova.
Daffy said the Weir factor would go a long way to ensuring that Master Of Arts jumps favourite on Monday.
“It will start favourite,’’ he said.
“It’s been the most popular horse since the barrier draw.
“There’s been four times as much money for it as there has been for Annus Mirabilis.”
Daffy said there was money for the Robbie Laing-trained Darabad.
“Darabad is one horse they have backed,” he said.
“Robbie Laing knows how to win these kind of races and it’s our worst result at this stage.’’
Originally published as Webb’s wonderful year to continue?