A capacity field of 18 stayers is set to run in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) on Saturday. The $200,000 race is the feature of the stand-alone race meeting at Ballarat Racecourse.
The Robert Smerdon-trained Spinderbella is the race favourite in the betting market, offering $5.50 at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Smerdon would not have suspected such a thing at the beginning of the mare’s campaign but he now believes she has what it takes to justify her favouritism due to a trio of factors.
There’s no denying that the 2014 Ballarat Cup will be Spinderbella’s toughest test to date but racing on the minimum 54kg and jumping from barrier three will give her a great chance at success. Not to mention the fact she has only been beaten once in her six starts beyond the mile.
“The barrier and the weight should give her a good run for a long way, so that puts her right in it and her record beyond 1600 is really good,” Smerdon told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“She’s only had one miss and there were excuses that night at Cranbourne when things didn’t work out that well.
“Her performances beyond 1600 are really good and she won over this distance at this track 12 months ago, albeit in lower grade.
“She’s probably still emerging. I’m not quite sure of her full potential, but because she’s lightly-raced she gets into this race right down the bottom of the handicaps and that can help them.”
Spinderbella has finished in the first three in all four of her starts during the spring. She was runner-up in a Mornington Handicap first up on September 17 before taking out a BM84 at Caulfield one week later. The mare then scored a minor placing in the Inglis Pinker Pinker Plate (2080m) in October.
She is looking for back to back wins in the 2014 Ballarat Cup on Saturday after winning the LF Sign Group Handicap (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
Smerdon will also be represented by Electric Fusion in the Ballarat Cup, who will have to overcome a wide start from barrier 16.
The gelding is the market mover at Ladbrokes.com.au however, seeing his price shorten from $14 to $12.
He will need to improve on a disappointing spring campaign, which saw him finish end of the field in all but one start. He was last seen finished tenth in a field of 16 in the Listed Cup Day Plate (1800m) at Flemington.
“Since his last run we’ve got back to schooling him,” Smerdon said.
“That seemed to help him last time (campaign), so I’m hoping we see a lift in his form out of that but the barrier is going to make it difficult for him.”
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