Australian Cup: What You Need To Know

AUSTRALIAN CUP

Run at Flemington over 2000m, $1.5 million, weight-for-age

HISTORY

* First run in 1863 when won by Barwon.

* Weight-for-age since 1979 except for 1982-86. 1863-1942 run over 18 furlongs, 1943-62 17 furlongs 110 yards, 1963 14 furlongs, since 1964 10 furlongs (2000m).

NOTABLE WINNERS

* Tim Whiffler (1867); Malua (1886); Grand Print (1964); Craftsman (1965-66); Gay Icarus (1971); Leilani (1975); Ming Dynasty (1978-80); Dulcify (1979); Hyperno (1981); Bonecrusher (1987); Dandy Andy (1988); Vo Rogue (1989-90); Better Loosen Up (1991); Let's Elope (1992); Durbridge (1994); Saintly (1996); Octagonal (1997); Northerly (2001, 2003); Makybe Diva (2005); Zipping (2010).

TALKING POINTS

* Awesome Rock was first past the post in last year's Australian Cup only to lose the race to Preferment on protest.

* Jameka and Real Love out to become the first mare to win since Makybe Diva in 2005.

* Ten of the 12 runners have come through the Peter Young Stakes at Caulfield last start with the exceptions being Ecuador and Boom Time.

WHAT THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING:

"You could throw a blanket over the field. There's a number of chances there, but I'm very happy with her and I wouldn't swap her," Jameka's trainer Ciaran Maher.

"I think Exospheric is the better performed horse. But the other horse has a bit of X-factor if he runs his race the way he can run his race" - co-trainer Lee Freedman on Exospheric and Tom Melbourne.

"Hopefully Saturday is his chance to break through for a well-deserved Group One victory" - Ecuador's co-trainer Adrian Bott.

"He seems much better in himself this week. He bounced though that run, his blood is good so I'm looking forward to Saturday" - Awesome Rock's co-trainer Troy Corstens.

MELBOURNE, March 9 AAP