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Carluca Holds Key To Cootamundra Cup (Sunday)

Warwick Farm trainer Jarrod Austin, looking to pull off a Group One upset with Looks Like Elvis at Randwick on Saturday, will have stable veteran Carluca lining up as one of the key runners in Sunday's $27,000 Cootamundra Cup (1600m).

Looks Like Elvis has performed well in three runs for Austin since coming down from Brisbane, including a last-start third in the Group Two Shannon Quality, but is rated a $34 hope in Saturday's $1m TAB Epsom Hcp (1600m) at Randwick.

Nine-year-old Carluca has been installed the $3.50 favourite in Sunday's Cootamundra Cup at the south-western NSW track, about 380km from Sydney.

With the Cootamundra Turf Club going back more than 120 years, the Cup has been around for many years.

Carluca has to carry the topweight of 61kg but his recent efforts on Sydney tracks, even on unsuitable heavy conditions, suggest he will be hard to beat on a good surface in Sunday's country cup.

Carluca resumed on a heavy 10 at Warwick Farm on July 29, finishing fourth to Royal Banquet in a Benchmark 70 over 1400m.

He then struck a heavy 9 second-up when fifth to Badoosh in a Benchmark 72 over 1400m on August 12, before improving third-up on a good surface to be beaten a half-length into fourth place behind Bentley Magic in a Benchmark 72 over 1600m on September 2.

At his latest run, again at Warwick Farm, Carluca didn't enjoy the best of luck in the straight when beaten just over a length into fourth place behind Coterie in a Benchmark 72 over 1600m.

Canberra gallopers Contaminated and Trapper Tom could prove to be the toughest to beat on Sunday.

The Nick Olive-trained Contaminated, a Benchmark 66 winner over the mile at Orange three runs back, will strip fitter after his first-up fifth to Peyton Place in an Open Hcp (1400m) at Kembla Grange on August 29 and has won second-up before.

Trapper Tom, trained by the Barbara Joseph-Paul & Matt Jones team, has been racing well in easier company recently and comes off a last-start second to Alpine King in a Canberra Benchmark 60 over 1400m on September 18.

Old Man's Angel, a close second to Parliament in last year's Cootamundra Cup, looks a doubtful runner this year after lining up at Moruya on Friday.

Jockey Blake McDougall is chasing back-to-back Cootamundra Cup wins when he partners mudlark Gentleman Max after scoring last year on the Andrew Dale-trained Parliament.

With the Cootamundra track rated a good4 on Friday morning, Gentleman Max looks unlikely to get conditions wet enough to suit when he lines up for his fourth tilt at Sunday's Cup.

All the fields, form and replays for Sunday's Cootamundra meeting

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