Mornington Cup 2023

Distance: 2400m | Conditions: Handicap | Rail Position: True | Track Condition: Soft 6

There’s $300,000 and a spot in the Caulfield Cup on the line in of the stronger Mornington Cup fields we’ve seen! Headlining the runners is 2019 Melbourne Cup winner Vow and Declare, the in-form son of So You Think – Right You Are, proven Group 2 performer in Nonconformist and early betting favourite Hezashoka. The rain is meant to hold out until the weekend so we should get a good deck down on the Penninsula. Let’s try find the winner!


Speed Map

There’s plenty of speed influence here so we should get a genuine staying test for this year’s Mornington Cup. Don’t be shocked to see Vow and Declare take up the running with Rebel Racer and Port Phillip coming across from the wide draw to set up the speed. Herman Hesse will try sit a little closer too from the inside draw, while Gear Up, Right You Are and Swords Drawn should settle for spots in behind the pace. With genuine speed on, Hezashocka will most likely go back with Yaphet and Benaud, relying on that pace to give them a shot late. Jordan Childs will be looking to get off the fence on Nonconformist and if he can do that and avoid traffic then will be running them down late.



Key Runners

1.jockey silks Vow and Declare (8)

The 2019 Melbourne Cup winner is humming at the moment. Stuck on well in the Tancred last start to finish one length from eventual winner in Arapaho and gets in relatively well at the weights under handicap conditions. Has his work cut out but hard to dismiss.

2.jockey silks Camorra (6)

Yet to see the best of him since arriving in Australia but is yet to run into a good track. International form stacks up and could run a race at odds. 

3.jockey silks Nonconformist (1)

Looking to gain entry into his third straight Caufield Cup, a race which he arguably should’ve won. Was three wide the trip in the Australia Cup last start and didn’t finish off but his win in the Blamey prior shows he’s right up to winning this. Not an ideal barrier but should still get a soft run and will be there in the finish. 

4.jockey silksGear Up (4)

Another one with some genuine international form who hasn’t fired since arriving in Australia. Slow tempo has been against him in his two starts at Sydney, but has battled home well in some elite company. Fitter third up, nice draw and looks ready to strike at 2400m, a distance he beat Cleveland in back in August.

5. jockey silksHezashocka (4)

Market favourite in early betting. Brings genuine WFA form into this after he punched on to finish fourth in the Queen Elizabeth, just three lengths to Dubai Honour and a half-length to Anamoe which is as good a form as you can find. Question marks around his dry track form and the 2400m trip. He doesn’t map all that well but remains a key threat. 

6. jockey silksRight You Are (10)

Airborne at the moment. Had his five start win streak ended when he ran into White Marlin last start who is the current favourite for Caulfield Cup. Was probably found out by the heavy track too. Hasn’t been tested over 2400m yet but is having an outstanding campaign so commands respect.

7. jockey silksFancy Man (5)

Third up for this. Went forward in the Easter Cup and lacked the turn of foot of some of those, but still stuck on well. Will appreciate the rise in class and a rolling tempo. Could shock.

8. jockey silksAurora’s Symphony (9)

Just beaten in the Adelaide Cup and then went back in the Roy Higgins and couldn’t reel them in. Was going better prior and Wilde admitted it was probably a bit early to drop him back to the 2600m. Will appreciate a drying track, expect an improved performance.

9. jockey silksBenaud (11)

Comes down from NSW after competing in some pretty hot races. This will be easier, he’s got class but hard to ignore his 1 win from 17 starts. Happy to leave him out.

10. jockey silksRebel Racer (15)

Last start winner in the Adelaide Cup, now back to 2400m. Is in good form but may just be a touch out of his depth here.

11.jockey silks Swords Drawn (2)

Was wide in the Roy Higgins early on but stuck on well to finish within a few lengths of Goldman and Soulcombe which reads really well for this. Very honest horse who’s going well but probably lacks a bit of class to beat these. Happy to leave out.

12.jockey silksPort Philip (12)

Nice horse who’s moved through the grades really well. Yarra Valley Cup winner last start and has some good results amongst some handy types. Is well suited for this but looking at his run in the Blamey this may just be a step too far. Hard to see him turning it around.

13. jockey silksHerman Hesse (3)

Went forward in the Yarra Valley Cup but was outsprinted by Port Phillip. Will appreciate the rise in class and will be made easier from the gate but can’t see him winning this.

14. jockey silksYaphet (13)

Pass marks in the Peter Young and Australia Cup prelude where he’s probably out of his weight division. Never looked in it in the Australian Cup but can bounce back with a nice run here. Not the worst.

15. jockey silksCaboche (7)

Last start winner thanks to the ideal run in transit. Rise in distance did him good but is untested in this sort of company. Astute stable but happy to watch him go around this time.



Not going to read too much into that Australia Cup run, I think Nonconformist will be cherry rip to bounce back third-up on a drying track.

3.jockey silks Nonconformist (1)

1.jockey silks Vow and Declare (8)

4.jockey silksGear Up (4)

5. jockey silksHezashocka (4)