Sydney’s leading lady of racing Gai Waterhouse is set to load up the floats with around 30 of her best, the determined and likeable trainer making the biggest and most ambitious Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival raid of her career.
Hall of Famer Waterhouse has said around a third of her stable will be based in Victoria this spring, the prize money and prestige on offer in Melbourne too good to ignore.
“That is where the prestige is and that’s where you have to be,” Waterhouse said.
“It is no good going there late if you want to win the Cups, and that’s what I want to do.”
Last spring Waterhouse was given a true taste of the riches on offer during Victoria’s spring racing season, winning her maiden Caulfield Cup with High Chaparral gelding Descarado.
Nearly 12 months on Waterhouse is ready for another Cups campaign and it’s not only back-to-back Caulfield Cups she is after.
The richest and most prestigious race in Australia each year, the race every Aussie has a punt on, the race that ‘stops a nation’ is the $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
The ‘Loving Cup’ is the one Gai wants, the 2011 Melbourne Cup set to run at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 1, 2011.
After their upset Caulfield Cup success last October, Descarado got into the Melbourne Cup final field but the testing two mile distance of the showdown was too much for them and they failed to finish the race won by Americain.
Descarado will be back in Melbourne this season after a solid Sydney Autumn Carnival, one of five horses Waterhouse will nominate for the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) when early entries for the October 15 feature close tomorrow.
The same five-horse contingent of stablemates will also feature in the 2011 Melbourne Cup nominations that will be taken by Racing Victoria on Thursday September 1.
“I will have five horses entered in the Cups and they will all be based in Melbourne for the spring,” Waterhouse confirmed.
Along with Descarado other Cups contenders for Waterhouse this year will include Herculian Prince, Tullamore and her 2010 AJC Oaks winning mare Once Were Wild.
Once Were Wild has had a career of mixed results, winning at the highest level but also failing to finish within the placings on many occasions.
After running 11th in the 2010 Melbourne Cup, Once Were Wild’s summer-autumn campaign highlights the confusing nature of her form with results ranging from a win the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick before her last-start ninth beaten over 12 lengths in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at her most recent run.
“Once Were Wild is only one of them,” Waterhouse said of her Cups-bound gallopers.
“We have worked her out, she needs to be ridden in front and that is what will be happening this time.”
Once Were Wild trialled at Warwick Farm last Friday running fourth in a 1200 metre heat, which was her first serious bit of work since the Sydney Cup.
“She’ll trail again here and then I’ll probably kick her off in Melbourne,” Waterhouse said.
“She’s already a Group One and Group Two winner, I’ll concentrate on winning the Cup for Singo (owner John Singleton) with her.
“All of my Group One horses will go (to Melbourne), while ones trying to make a name for themselves will stay here (in Sydney).
“I will be spending a fair bit of time down there, so I will also take my two-year-olds there as well because a mother cannot be away from her chicks.”
Since preparing her first winner with Gifted Poet back in 1992, Tulloch Lodge trainer Waterhouse has gone on to win over 100 Group 1 races.
The Melbourne Cup has not been one.
The closest she has come was in 1995 when her Victoria Derby winner Nothin’ Leica Dane ran a close second behind the Lee Freedman-trained Melbourne Cup winner Doriemus.
Another one of Waterhouse’s best chance at Group glory in Melbourne this year lies in glamour mare More Joyous.
A five-time Group 1 winner, More Than Ready five-year-old More Joyous has been one of Waterhouse’s ace assets over the past two seasons and travelled to Melbourne last spring where she won the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) before running a game fifth to So You Think in the Cox Plate.
She pulled up lame, however, after her most recent run when 11th to Sacred Choice in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick in April and has only just returned to work in the past month.
“She has been in work about three weeks,” Waterhouse said.
“I want to get her fit before deciding where she will start but I think we will try to win the race she won down there last year and Myer Classic.”
More Joyous will get the chance to defend her title in the $350,000 Toorak Handicap on October 8 at Caulfield before the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) runs at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, Saturday October 29.
New to join? Quote the codeword BONUSBET when you make your first deposit and Luxbet will match you dollar for dollar in a bonus bet up to $400!