David & Scott Brunton’s Tough Speed gelding Banca Mo is back at Warrnambool this afternoon looking to successful defend their title in the track’s major, the 2014 Warrnambool Cup.
The now six-year-old backed up off a flying season around the country last winter to put an easy five lengths on Muirfield and win the $200,000 Listed Warrnambool Cup (2350m).
It was their third win on the trot that prep following solid form in the autumn stakes races in Tasmanian and Melbourne and cemented them as a country cups’ horse to watch as they also took at the Pakenham Cup last March.
This time in they’ve had just the three Melbourne runs leading up to their title defense in the Warrnambool Cup.
They’d spent the previous 10 months sidelined due to injury, a bone chip in their hock, before their return on March 8 when fifth in the Listed Super Saturday Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
Their latest effort was somewhat disappointing when Banca Mo over-raced in the Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) eventually crossing four lengths away seventh to Our Voodoo Prince in the April 19 showdown.
They go up from 57kg there to the 59.5kg top weight today too, making their task of become a dual Warrnambool Cup winner a tougher one on a 12 day turnaround.
But co-trainer David Brunton is still confident the $2100 bargain buy as a yearling can win this afternoon and will be improving on their last start that took the Tassie-trained champ up to $465,000 in career earnings.
“He should be fitter [than last start],” Brunton told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“We haven’t had to wait three weeks in between runs this time.
“We’re banking on the fact that it’s a 12-day back-up and he’s going to be a bit harder.”
They only concern for his trainers is that he hasn’t gone over as many miles as last year, often a key to the preparation of stayers for their grand final run.
“We just hope that Banca Mo is not underdone,” Brunton said. ‘
“If Mo can find a length, it’ll be a big help to us.”
Favourite in the latest Warrnambool Cup odds at $3.50 is Easter Cup runner-up Akzar for Darren Weir who jumps from the outside barrier.
Banca Mo, to be ridden by regular jockey Ben Knobel, meanwhile has barrier 11 of 16 and pays $9 as the last of the single figure chances in the markets.
Knobel is confident his horse is still the one to beat though and will be at their peak here in the wet, Warrnambool currently rated a Heavy (10).
“He was probably a run short going into the Easter Cup and seemed to peak on his run upon straightening but he’s had two nice gallops since and is going very well. He will be ready for Thursday,” Knobel said earlier this week.
“[And] the wetter the better.”
To get behind Banca Mo or another selection for today’s Warrnambool Cup clash make sure you head over to Ladbrokes.com.au where you’ll get the guaranteed best odds thanks to their Best Tote or SP markets.