Stawell horseman Paul Jones has confirmed plans to target the Ballarat Cup 2014 on Saturday week with Sunday’s Ararat Gold Cup winner Mujadale.
The Mujahid seven-year-old improved on some lacklustre form this season when carrying 55kg to a smart one and a quarter length win over At First Sight in the $50,000 Ararat Gold Cup (2000m) over the weekend.
It was a much improved effort from nine days earlier when the veteran over-raced in the Horsham Cup (1800m), was inconvenienced near the 1000m mark and lost ground before finishing second last (7th) behind Happy As Hell in the October showdown.
The Ararat Cup victory was the gelding’s first win since a 2800m success at Flemington Racecourse on Melbourne Cup Day 12 months ago.
Now that the drought has broken, Jones hopes to continue the winning streak with Mujadale now targeting the $200,000 Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) on November 22.
That will be the stayer’s first black-type assignment since a failed 13th behind Bel Thor in the Listed Seymour Cup (1600m) when forced to run wide from barrier 12 (of 15) on October 19, form Jones knew he would improve on in the Ararat Cup.
“His run at Seymour was super,” Jones told Racing Victoria.
“He covered more ground than Burke & Wills and was only beaten five lengths.
“I thought he was pretty right to run in the Horsham Cup, but he got interfered with which put him out of the race.
“I was confident he’d do a good job.”
Jones was also quick to credit the Ararat Cup ride of 53-year-old Kevin Forrester who kept his cool despite the horse being slow out of the gates.
“I was happy with the rider we had; he suited the horse well,” he said.
“I wanted him to be forward. The horse was a bit tardy away and I was a bit worried, but Kevin stuck to his guns and he worked forward and got him in a nice spot.
“He just rated him a treat. He rode him out strongly, which he needs. He needs a good strong rider in the finish.”
This time last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival Mujadale was gearing up for the Listed Sandown Cup (3200m), the 2014 edition held this weekend on Zipping Classic Day.
He went into that two mile feature on the back of his impressive two and a half length Melbourne Cup Day win over Like A Carousel (2nd) and Caravan Rolls On (3rd), but could only manage to run 10.5 lengths away seventh when Caravan Rolls On relished the extra distance and turned the tables.
Last year’s Ballarat Cup was won by subsequent Group 1 Sydney Cup winner The Offer, prepared by Gai Waterhouse.
This year Waterhouse is likely to defend her Ballarat Cup crown with Excess Knowledge on track for the event despite a fifth to Saint Or Sinner in a 1600m handicap at Flemington last Saturday on Emirates Stakes Day.
The official 2014 Ballarat Cup nominations are due out next Monday and will be published right here at Races.com.au so stay tuned.
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