Monday night’s $107,000 Group 1 Hume Cup (600m) at The Meadows promises to be a sensational race, with Neo Cleo the $3.30 favourite despite running 2nd in her heat.
Trainer Robert Neocleous is expecting an improved showing from his versatile superstar, who has won 11 of her past 15 starts.
“She had box eight in her heat, which is a tough draw at The Meadows. She was blocked for a run and I think she’ll perform a lot better in the final. She has box four on Monday, which isn’t a bad draw over the 600m distance.”
Neo Cleo has had an outstanding career so far, netting 23 wins from 48 starts, and victory in the Hume Cup would be her first at group level.
“I think she deserves to win a group race. The closest she has come was when she ran 2nd in the (Group 2) McKenna Memorial to Out Of Range.”
“What she has been able to do in recent months has been quite incredible, and she has been doing it against high quality opposition. She has won eight of her last 10 starts, all in the city other than two runs at Traralgon, where she broke the 595m track record both times.”
Neocleous said Lila Bale ($4.20), who was the fastest heat winner, was the biggest danger to Neo Cleo’s chances of claiming the $75,000 first prize.
“Lila Bale ran less than two lengths off the track record in her heat (34.02sec), and if she repeats that effort she’ll be very hard to beat. However, she doesn’t always begin as well as she did that night so we’ll see what happens. Another danger is Not Available ($6), who is a class act,” he said.
WATCH: Neo Cleo (8) runs 2nd to Dyna Yezza in her heat.