Australia’s leading lady of racing Gai Waterhouse knows it is only early days with the 2014 Melbourne Cup still a couple of months away but she’s already delighted with the work current favour The Offer is putting in.
Waterhouse made history last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival when, after two decades of trying, she became the first Australian female trainer to win the ‘race that stops a nation’.
She broke her maiden status in the iconic Flemington feature with Fiorente, the imported Monsun stallion backing up from a Cox Plate third to win the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) as a 6-1 chance.
“I can’t describe how exciting it was, probably the most exciting thing that has happened to me since marrying Rob,” she told the Southern Courier this week.
“The whole of Australia was swinging on the favourite Fiorente winning and I wanted him so much to do it for the owners, for my own sake, for my stables’ sake.
“It was exceptionally exciting.”
Before Waterhouse the last female trainer to prepare a Melbourne Cup winner was Sheila Laxon, the New Zealander winning with Kiwi mare Ethereal back in 2001.
Now Waterhouse is gearing up for another shot at the world’s richest handicap and has a mighty fine chance of securing back-to-back wins with current Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer.
The Offer sits top of the Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au paying $13 in the all-in markets following the release of Melbourne Cup weights on Tuesday; The Offer allocated 56.5kg which is 1.5kg more than his Sydney Cup winning weight from the autumn.
Winner of the Ballarat Cup last November by a big three and a half lengths, the Montjeu gelding enjoyed a stellar spring in Sydney winning three on the trot to round out his preparation including the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) by an easy four lengths.
That was an impressive win over the two miles and the bookies reacted accordingly sending The Offer straight to the top of their futures Melbourne Cup betting markets.
The five-year-old returned to racing on the back of a four and a half month break then at Moonee Valley on September 6 and was far from disgraced when beaten under two lengths running fifth to The Cleaner in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m).
The Offer went back as expected first-up over the mile and was chasing a long way out but, over the final furlong, was finishing hard with improvement tipped next start.
That next start happens this weekend at Caulfield Racecourse with The Offer going up to 1800m for a shot at the Group 1 Underwood Stakes.
Waterhouse has been thrilled with his work so far this season and cannot wait for Melbourne Cup Day where she’ll attempt to become the first back-to-back Melbourne Cup winning trainer since Lee Freedman who prepared the mighty Makybe Diva for the second two of her three victories in 2004 and 2005 with David Hayes in charge for the mare’s maiden victory in 2003.
“It’s early days; two months before the Melbourne Cup but he’s going very well, I’m delighted with the way he’s training,” she said.
Following the Underwood Stakes this weekend plans are to return to Caulfield on October 18 for a shot at the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), a race Waterhouse won with Descarado back in 2010.
When asked to make comparisons between The Offer and her reigning Melbourne Cup winner, the now retired Fiorente, she said both horses had that incredible will to win that goes a long way in making a champion racehorse.
“It’s got a bit of a task in front of him, he’s not as well performed as Fiorente, but he’s certainly got a fantastic will to win like Fiorente,” she said.
To back Waterhouse’s smart stayer The Offer to win this weekend in the Underwood Stakes or in the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday of November, visit Ladbrokes.com.au and make sure you get the right price!
Ladbrokes are also offering Best Tote + 20% on the Underwood Stakes this weekend giving you even more bang for your buck in the big spring features!