They have the confidence of their trainer Joe Pride and are one of the top fancies in the markets but can Sydney raider Neeson beat home top local hope Buffering and win the 2012 BTC Cup at Doomben on Saturday?
The $400,000 Group 1 BTC Cup (1200m) runs as Race 7 at 3:50pm and features a field of 15 gallopers led by Rob Heathcote’s perennial Group 1 placegetter Buffering.
Buffering however will undergo a vet examination on Saturday morning before being cleared to run after Heathcote reported to Racing Queensland that the Mossman four-year-old was suffering soreness on Friday morning after trackwork.
Still last year’s BTC Cup third placegetter is the clear favourite in this year’s odds at bookmaker.com.au with Buffering paying $2.60 to win their first elite level at Group 1 run number 10.
Two horses then share the second line of BTC Cup betting with the John O’Shea-trained filly Sea Siren, and Mossman five-year-old Neeson paying $7.50 each.
Drawn in gate nine with Corey Brown to ride Neeson certainly looks a genuine chance for a BTC Cup upset, the gelding having run trop four in their last three outings.
Two back they came within three quarters of a length of Master Of Design in the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) and last start were only beaten a long neck when third in the Listed Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) on Sydney Cup Day.
Pride is now hoping Neeson, his favourite horse, improves again and wins the BTC Cup and then the $650,000 Group1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 26.
“Sacred Choice won two Group Ones for me in the Doncaster Mile and Myer Classic and I’ve got no doubt Rain Affair will be the best I’ve ever trained but Neeson is my favourite,” Pride said.
“He’s a very special horse to me. I’ve fallen in love with him.
“He’s not the best horse I’ve trained but it’s not just about racetrack performances.
“Neeson is very athletic and I’d love to see him win the BTC Cup and the Doomben 10,000.”
Pride is also confident that Neeson has the right gate to be competitive.
“He’s not as good off an inside barrier and nine should be perfect for him,” he said.
“There’s a lot of pace around him which will suit.
“I expect him to be running about third or fourth and the only negative I’ve got is I’d like a softer track.
“The day he won the Premiere Stakes at Randwick last year he beat three subsequent Group One winners.
“I think he’s right up to winning a Group One like this on Saturday.”
Wary of the favourite Buffering, Neeson hopes that with them out wide in 14 they will have to use a lot of energy to get over from that gate and that his horse will have more left in the tank when it is needed.
“Neeson and Buffering are proven weight-for-age performers and Buffering looks our biggest danger,” Pride said.
“I’m hoping Buffering goes out hard and uses up all his petrol.”
So will Neeson live up to Pride’s expectations and hand their trainer with his eighth Group 1 victory?
Or will they be beaten by one of the other challengers in the field such as reigning Doomben 10,000 winner Beaded, or last year’s QTC Cup champ Varenna Miss?
Below the Races.com.au team take a look at the evidence for and against Neeson winning the BTC Cup so you can place a well-informed wager on the event through bookmaker.com.au!
#6 Neeson – Horse Facts
- Trainer: Joe Pride
- Jockey: Corey Brown
- Barrier: 9
- Weight: 58.5kg
- Owners: G S Bourke & Ms M D Thuillier
- Age: 5YO
- Gender: Gelding
- Breeding: by Mossman (AUS) out of Favorite Actress (NZ)
- Career: 28-8-4-5
- Prize Money: $736,600
- Win%: 28.57%
- Place%: 60.71%
- Last 6: x26343
- Current BTC Cup Odds: $7.50
Yes – Neeson Can Win the 2012 BTC Cup
- Drawn in nine and Buffering is wider in 14, could have enough left for a bigger finish
- Ran a brilliant third from barrier 13 of 13 over this distance at Randwick last start
- Their TJ Smith Stakes run was a beauty
No – Neeson Won’t Be the 2012 BTC Cup Winner
- Only has a moderate winning strike rate of 28.57%
- Regular rider Michael Rodd is not aboard
- Need to beat the rest including deserved favourite Buffering
- Hasn’t won a race since the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) in October last year
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