Gai Waterhouse is hoping for a gun run in Saturday’s Carlyon Cup at Caulfield from her striking chestnut Spurtonic who is Australian Cup 2015 bound this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
The Flying Spur five-year-old runs third-up in the $150,000 Group 3 Herald Sun Carlyon Cup (1600m) this weekend from barrier eight, of 12, with one of Waterhouse’s favourite jockeys Vlad Duric to ride.
“Vlad rides a lot for me,” Waterhouse told Racing Ahead on Friday morning, adding that she trusted her hoops and didn’t mind where the horse sat in the race so long as it suited the pace that was happening on the day.
First-up the gelding put in a brave effort in Queensland to win the Magic Millions Cup (1400m) on the Gold Coast, breaking a drought that went right back to the spring of 2013, before a luckless run back home in Sydney last start.
“He’s a funny horse,” Waterhouse said.
“It was 18 months, talk about a patient owner and a patient trainer, between him winning on Caulfield Cup Day and winning again on Magic Millions Day.”
He raced second-up at Randwick on January 24 in the Listed Carrington Stakes (1400m) but nothing went right for him and jockey Blake Shinn, Spurtonic eventually crossing nine lengths away last when 10th to Ninth Legion.
From the outside gate he had to do lots of work early to find a spot outside the leader that day and fought hard right down the straight in a brave effort Waterhouse his confident he’ll be improving on when racing in Melbourne on Saturday.
“He’s a beautiful style horse,” she said.
“He’s a great, big, rangey, lovely chestnut and I think he’s pretty much spot on (for Saturday).”
The horse has had one previous run at Caulfield when he won the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) by two and a half lengths back in October of 2013 on the back of a very close fourth when just a half-length off Boban in that year’s Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in Sydney.
He’s lightly raced since that campaign with injury restricting him to just the four races over the past couple of seasons.
His Magic Millions Cup success and gallant Carrington run showed Waterhouse he was well enough to get back up to elite level company this autumn however, something she hopes he’ll further cement with a good run in the Carlyon Cup.
“It’s a very winnable race, hopefully as a stepping stone for the Australian Cup,” Waterhouse said.
Current markets at Ladbrokes.com.au on the set weights plus penalties race are led by the Gerald Ryan-trained Sydneysider Red Excitement at $2.30 who shoots for his sixth win on the trot.
Spurtonic meanwhile is an $8.50 chance to win his lead-up race heading into the $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on Super Saturday, March 14.
Futures Australian Cup odds are also already out a Ladbrokes with the Kris Lees-trained Melbourne Cup champ Protectionist the red hot favourite at $4 to complete the interstate Cups double Waterhouse won with Fiornete last season.
Spurtonic meanwhile can be found at the opposite end of the Australian Cup betting markets paying $81, a price Waterhouse hopes he can firm in from with a win on the weekend.
To back Spurtonic for the Carlyon Cup on Saturday and to jump on his juicy odds for the Group 1 target next month head over to Ladbrokes.com.au where your first deposit will also be matched dollar for dollar up to $250 as a bonus bet when you quote the code BETBONUS!