A rematch with the horse that they beat home one spot at Ballarat last start, Hurdy Gurdy Man, is on the cards for the Tony McEvoy-trained Pelicano in the Werribee Cup 2013 this weekend.
On November 24 Court Of Jewels five-year-old Pelicano ran a brave second in the wet when beaten by The Offer in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m).
They carried 60kg to the winner’s 54.5kg for that run, an equal weight with the equally brave third placed Hurdy Gurdy Man from the local stables of Darren Weir.
Now the duo is set to face off again, both carrying 60kg again, in the $120,000 Listed TAB Werribee Cup (2600m) on Sunday.
They’re drawn beside each other in the 10-horse field too with Pelicano (5), set to be ridden by Luke Nolen, one inside of Hurdy Gurdy Man (6).
The Angaston-based McEvoy is looking forward to Sunday’s showdown and believes Pelicano has what it takes to improve on their Ballarat run and take out the Werribee Cup for their fourth stakes victory of 2013.
They’re after their second provincial cup win in three starts too having also taken out the Listed Murray Bridge Gold Cup (1600m) from the outside barrier, 16, back in mid-October whey carrying 59kg.
The only query however could be how they handle the step up to 2600m, a distance they haven’t seen since last year’s Werribee Cup.
Last summer they came off a narrow Ballarat Cup second when defeated just a nose by King Diamond to finish one and three quarters of a length away fifth as the beaten odds-on ($1.75) favourite behind Unusual Suspect at Werribee.
It’s an effort McEvoy believes they will do better than this year despite Pelicano going up five and a half kilos from their Werribee Cup weight from 12 months ago.
“I thought his run in the Ballarat Cup this year was probably a bit better than last year considering the weight he had to carry on a heavy track,” McEvoy told Racing Victoria.
“He probably didn’t quite stay the 2600m in the Werribee Cup last year but in saying that he was only beaten a length-and-a-half so he wasn’t far away.
“Glen Boss gave him a beautiful ride but he was on the inside locked away and he just couldn’t quite build his momentum.”
One thing McEvoy is certain of is that barrier five is an ideal starting position for his horse.
“He’s been frustrated with wide barriers lately but he should get a nice run from there,” he said.
“I’m hoping that from the barrier Luke will be able to ride him really patiently and I’m really pleased with him going into the race.
“He’s done really well since Ballarat. He’s trained on beautifully and he’s a very fit horse. He’s just been doing long staying work and is really thriving.”
If all goes well and Pelicano proves they can handle the distance then McEvoy will consider backing them up in the $150,000 Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) at Flemington on New Year’s Day.
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