No big Cups for Harris Tweed

The Cups pin has been pulled on Cambridge stayer Harris Tweed.

Trainer Murray Baker ruled Harris Tweed out of both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups after the talented stayer could beat only one home in the 2500-metre Listed Bart Cummings at Flemington last Sunday. “He’s not going well enough so I’ve pulled him out of the Cups,” said Baker. “He went a shocker. The trouble is we can’t see anything wrong with him. He vetted out perfectly on course.”

Harris Tweed has had three starts this campaign and on each occasion he has finished in the rear group. First-up he was second-last in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, then he was 13th of 16 in the Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield. Both times he was given the benefit of doubt as the trip was short of his best, but last Sunday’s performance confirmed disappointment in the camp.

“I could put blinkers on him and give him one more run over there, possibly in the Bendigo Cup or Moonee Valley Cup, but it’s a worry when you can’t find out what’s wrong,” said Baker.

Harris Tweed won the Bart Cummings last year before finishing a courageous second to Descarado in the Caulfield Cup and fifth to Americain in the  Melbourne Cup. A year earlier he was also fifth in the Melbourne Cup, to Shocking.

Though the Bart Cummings brought disappointment for Baker, it was the source of some encouragement for fellow Cambridge trainer Frank and Shaune Ritchie.

Frank Ritchie’s top stayer Showcause finished third, two and three-quarter lengths from the winner Mourayan, while Shaune Ritchie’s stayer My Scotsgrey was two placings further back.