Twelve months ago Sydney’s leading lady of racing Gai Waterhouse celebrated a Ballarat Cup win with The Offer and Saturday week she’ll be back to defend her title with Excess Knowledge on track for the final Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival feature.
Irish import The Offer broke his Australian maiden status with an impressive three and a half length win in last year’s $200,000 Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) and went on the following autumn to win three Sydney features including the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m).
Now Waterhouse is again eyeing the Ballarat staying showdown on November 22 with another relative unknown import from her stables, the former British-trained Excess Knowledge.
The Monsun stallion has had five runs down under for just the one win, a narrow victory in a Benchmark 95 at Royal Randwick on October 18.
After that the five-year-old backed up last Saturday at Flemington Racecourse for Emirates Stakes Day running fifth with 59kg on his back behind Saint Or Sinner in a 1600m handicap.
It was a decent enough effort with a big weight and one that saw him working home well after missing the start and getting right back in the field.
The run was also enough to convince Waterhouse he was on track for another shot in black-type company after his failed first-up seventh behind Rock Sturdy in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on September 27 according to Waterhouse’s racing manager Adrian Bott.
“She knows what it takes to win a race like this and she has got a high opinion of the horse and always has,” he told The Courier.
“He lost no admirers in his race on Saturday.
“He is now looking for a trip and should improve significantly stepping up to the distance.”
Like The Offer, Excess Knowledge was bought by connections as a spring cups prospect for the following season.
Bott added that it was likely he would be sent straight to the paddock after the Ballarat Cup result to prepare for next year’s autumn and spring features.
Last year’s Ballarat Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver was aboard Excess Knowledge last Saturday at Flemington and is set to retain the ride as he too shoots for back-to-back wins.
Also on track for a Ballarat Cup nomination are two hopes from local trainer Darren Weir.
Weir’s racing manager Jeremy Rogers confirmed that both Hurdy Gurdy Man and At First Sight were set for a shot at their home town cup.
The stable mates both ran in last Sunday’s $50,000 Ararat Gold Cup (2000m) won by fellow Ballarat Cup-bound stayer Mujadale.
Street Cry stallion Hurdy Gurdy Man, Victorian Country Racehorse of the Year last season, finished eighth carrying a hefty 61kg while fellow veteran At First Sight was much closer crossing one and a quarter lengths away seventh.
Hurdy Gurdy Man was third behind The Offer in last year’s Ballarat Cup while the former Robert Hickmott-trained At First Sight will be lining up for his new trainer Weir for just the fifth time following a 10th in the 2011 Melbourne Cup behind French raider Dunaden and a subsequent three year break from racing.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the latest on the Ballarat Cup 2014 including next Monday’s nominations.
Then for access to the hottest odds for the remainder of the spring’s feature races and the early summer classics in Perth, visit our preferred online betting agency Ladbrokes.com.au today!