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Our Adelaide Cup runners in the news

Andrew Eddy, The Age

MIKE Moroney is today aiming to win the Adelaide Cup with an imported horse, but the trainer's hopes of doing so do not simply rest with topweight and race favourite Drunken Sailor.

The former Luca Cumani-trained stayer, who ran midfield in both the Caulfield and Melbourne cups last spring, is considered the one to beat in the $400,000 race.

But Moroney suspects his little-known import All Out War can also make an impact today.
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I've got one that's done it and one that is yet to do it, so I'm hoping I've got the bases covered, Moroney said. It's not going to be an easy race for either horse but I'm happy with both of them going in.

Drunken Sailor carries topweight of 59.5 kilograms into today's race while All Out War, who is eligible for restricted grade, is down at the bottom of the field at No. 19 with 53.

Drunken Sailor is the $4.20 race favourite and All Out War is at $41 but Moroney said that might not be an accurate assessment of their chances.

Drunken Sailor is a proven stayer and while they say he's best at a mile and a half [2400m], he gives me the indication that he'll run out the two miles [3200m] if he can find a little cover,he said.

That's the worry with his draw [barrier 20], but look, there's a little run to the first turn and hopefully Damien [Oliver] can slot him in somewhere and he can have cover.

For All Out War, it is something of a surprise that he is even competing as in his first two runs in maidens in Australia, he was beaten more than 20 lengths each time.

He was gelded after that first prep and he just didn't acclimatise so he went out for a nice long spell and when he came back in, he started showing some improvement and has found a few lengths at each of his starts, Moroney said.

Bought from Europe by prominent owner Rupert Legh as a seven-start maiden, the first thing Legh did was to change the horse's name. He was named Alfonso The Wise and while his new name is not much better, I'm glad it changed, Moroney said.

Adrian Dunn, Herald Sun

FORMER British stayer Drunken Sailor must wind back the clock nearly 90 years if he's to provide Terry Henderson and Simon O'Donnell with their second feature win in 48 hours in today's Adelaide Cup.

Drunken Sailor, a former stablemate to Australian Cup winner Manighar, owned by Henderson and O'Donnell's OTI syndicate, is saddled with 59.5kg, a weight that's been carried to victory only six times since the Adelaide Cup was first run in 1864.

King Ingoda, winner of the 1923 Adelaide Cup, is the last horse to lump a comparable weight to victory. He carried 60.5kg.

In the past 50 years the biggest weight carried by an Adelaide Cup winner was Gallic four years ago and former Melbourne Cup winner Hyperno in 1978. Both horses shouldered 58kg.

The enormity of the task confronting Drunken Sailor, the $4.80 favourite with TAB Sportsbet, is not lost on trainer Mike Moroney.

"He's weighted up to his best and then when barrier 20 came out it made it tougher," Moroney said.

While the extreme outside draw is understandably daunting, 11 of the past 20 Adelaide Cup winners have drawn double digit gates and four of those have jumped from barrier 16 or wider, including last year's winner Muir, who started from gate 18.

Moroney said what is most concerning about the draw is the view of Damien Oliver that Drunken Sailor is best suited when he's got cover.

Just how that happens from such an awkward draw is something that Moroney will leave entirely to the Hall Of Fame jockey, whose sole success in the Adelaide Cup is on Sheer Kingston for Johnny Meagher in 1999.

"He's well and we're hoping he gets two miles. He came with a 'he doesn't get two miles sticker' on him from his previous trainer," Moroney said.

Drunken Sailor has raced four times over 3200m, including a 12th behind Dunaden in last year's Melbourne Cup. He ran second in a race at Newbury in June 2010 and won a three-year-old maiden hurdle at Gowran over the trip in November 2008.

But, Moroney noted that Drunken Sailor, winner of the Roy Higgins Quality (2600m) at Flemington on March 3, rallied when challenged in that victory.

"We've taken the blinkers off him to get him to relax a bit more. It's not a great field, hopefully his class will help and 'Ollie' knows him well now," he said.

[12 Mar 12]


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