Notorious racehorse owner Lloyd Williams has taken out the 2011 Bendigo Cup quinella with his smart imports Tanby and At First Sight finishing one-two in the black-type feature that shaped up to be an important lead-up to next week’s highly-anticipated Melbourne Cup showdown.
Favourite to win the $200,000 Listed Bendigo Cup (2400m) this year was the Williams-owned, Robert Hickmott-trained At First Sight racing for the first time since their second to December Draw in the Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield on September 17.
But it was their less-heralded stablemate and the Races.com.au tip to win Tanby that stole first prize.
The first two over the line today were the two form horses and the Bendigo Cup result reflected that.
Coming off two brave second place finishes, first to Shewan in the Herbert Power Stakes and then last-start to Melbourne Cup second elect Dunaden in the Geelong Cup last Wednesday, it was Tanby’s turn in the winners’ stall today.
Tanby desperately needed to salute in the Bendigo Cup, their final fling at securing a spot in the 24-horse field for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington next Tuesday, November first.
2012 Melbourne Cup Odds
Futures all-in betting showing top 24 horses.
Prior to their Bendigo Cup success Tanby was sitting 38th in the Melbourne Cup order of entry, and while their victory today will ensure they move up the ballot, whether it is enough to go into the top 24 is still highly questionable.
Weighted on just 50kg for the Melbourne Cup, Tanby will need to incur a minimum penalty of 2kg from Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter if they are to get a run in the world’s richest handicap.
Co-owner Nick Williams was hopeful but not overly confident that this would happen.
“All I can say to Greg Carpenter is that’s clearly the most impressive Bendigo Cup winner I’ve ever seen,” Williams said.
“So I hope he’s listening and that he gives us three kilos….but we probably won’t get the two kilos we need.”
Jumping as the $4 second favourite in the Bendigo Cup odds at Luxbet, Tanby did everything right settling back off the speed and letting the likes of defending champ Dream Pedlar charge forward and go to the front in the early stages.
Topweight on 58kg At First Sight missed the jump slightly and went back to last.
With 1700 metres to go Gai Waterhouse’s Two For Tea hit the lead ahead of their stablemate Western Symbol, At First Sight still sitting at the back of the field.
Coming around the turn At First Sight was the deepest of the runners, Tanby coming off the fence to hit the front once on the home straight.
At First Sight ($3) found their top gear late displaying a blistering turn of foot to come for the back of the pack down the outside, but they couldn’t catch Tanby ($4) who hit the line one and three quarter lengths clear of the beaten favourite.
Battling on well to run third was Western Symbol ($10) who put in a brave run but is now well and truly out of Melbourne Cup contention.
Other Melbourne Cup entries that failed in their eleventh-hour bid today included the Luca Cumani-trained European raider Sahara Sun who finished eighth and the Bart Cummings-trained Cosmonaut who was last over the line beaten nearly 15 lengths.
Sahara Sun was 24th in the Melbourne Cup ballot, so is currently assured of a start, but their failed run today and the fact that popular grey stablemate Bauer is 29th in the order of entry means Cumani is likely to withdrawn the former Chilean racehorse.
It was a dream result for the Williams’ family today with their winner a chance of making the Melbourne Cup field and At First Sight looking right on track for the spring grand final.
Tanby is currently paying $41 in the Melbourne Cup markets at Luxbet while At First Sight, who was outstanding giving their rivals a big start, is likely now to receive even more support, which could see their $14 quote firm over the next day.
“It’s fantastic to come here and have our horses quinella,” Nick Williams said.
“There’s not many things that mean more than that to us.
“At First Sight was game, with 58 (kilos) and that small set back.
“That was a great (Melbourne) Cup trial.
“He’s bang on track now.
“We’ll just keep our fingers crossed.”
At First Sight also looks an attractive horse to back for an upset Melbourne Cup win as they will drop back from the 58kg they lugged at Bendigo to just 52.5kg for the big event.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au over the coming days for the latest Melbourne Cup field and betting updates, including news on whether today’s Bendigo Cup winner Tanby makes the cut.
In the meantime, jump onto our preferred online bookmarker Luxbet and check out their futures Melbourne Cup markets offering the best prices on the ‘race that stops a nation’.
2011 Bendigo Cup Finishing Order
|1||6||TANBY||Robert Hickmott||Steven King||–||4||54kg||$4|
|2||1||AT FIRST SIGHT (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Nicholas Hall||1.75L||5||58kg||$3F|
|3||11||WESTERN SYMBOL (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||3L||1||53kg||$10|
|4||5||BOOM ’N’ ZOOM||Ken Keys||Craig Newitt||3.4L||7||54.5kg||$10|
|5||9||OLYMPIC WIN (NZ)||Robert Smerdon||Chris Symons||3.6L||2||53kg||$19|
|6||7||BACK IN BLACK (NZ)||John Steffert||Danny Nikolic||4.85L||3||53kg (cd 53.5kg)||$20|
|7||12||SUNSET CAFE||Leon Corstens||Stephen Baster||5.6L||9||53kg||$81|
|8||4||SAHARA SUN (CHI)||Luca Cumani||Dwayne Dunn||5.8L||10||56kg||$11|
|9||2||DREAM PEDLAR||Troy Blacker||Craig Williams||6.1L||11||56kg||$16|
|10||8||INNOCENT LADY (NZ)||Graeme & Mark Sanders||James Winks||6.2L||6||53kg (cd 53.5kg)||$31|
|11||10||TWO FOR TEA (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Michael Walker||11.2L||12||53kg||$41|
|12||13||COSMONAUT||Bart Cummings||Luke Nolen||14.95L||8||53kg||$13|
|SCR||3||LAMASERY||David Vandyke||Brenton Avdulla||–||0||–||–|