One of the biggest country cups in Australia takes place tomorrow with the Listed $250,000 2012 Bendigo Cup (2400m) set to feature a reasonable field of stayers.
The withdrawal of the Lloyd Williams-owned Excluded has opened up the race, leaving Queensland gelding Spechenka as the only runner still involved in 2012 Melbourne Cup acceptances.
Excluded may have been scratched to chase a Melbourne Cup berth via the 2012 Lexus Stakes but Lloyd Williams still has one of the strongest contenders with the in-form Practiced.
Not sure who to back in the Bendigo Cup? Don’t worry as the Races.com.au team have been hard at work to bring you our very best Bendigo Cup selections.
#5 Silent Surround ($6.50)
The William Smart-trained mare has been competing in better races than this with reasonable results and looks well placed here.
Was only beaten three lengths by Shahwardi when fifth in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes at Caulfield last start over the same distance and any of those that finished in front of him would be favourite here.
Will benefit from what was her first run over the trip this preparation and drawn well in barrier three with Damien Oliver aboard.
#11 Practiced ($2.70)
It’s hard to deny the form of this emerging stayer who has finished in the top two in all four of his spring starts to date.
The lightly-raced gelding finished second to Vatuvei in the VRC St Leger in April who has since gone out and won the Moonee Valley Cup on the weekend.
Craig Williams has ridden the gelding in all four spring starts to date and stays on here where he should be able to find a suitable position from the inside barrier.
#4 Spechenka ($51.00)
This roughie from Queensland generally pulls out one good run each preparation and he is will into his campaign here.
He’s won twice at Group 3 level so is more than up to class here and if he brings he’s best he could well produce a huge upset.