Gai Waterhouse’s Group 3 winning French import Pornichet is in Queensland this weekend jumping favourite in the Toowoomba Cup 2015 on way to the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival Group 1s.
A four-year-old Vespone stallion, Pornichet is one of 13 stayers accepted for the $100,000 XXXX Gold Toowoomba Cup (2150m), which runs as Race 6 at 3:32pm (AEST) on Saturday.
Winner of the Group 3 Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 28, Pornichet was last seen running a brave fifth when under three lengths off the winner Kermadec in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) over an unsuitably short distance on April 6.
Waterhouse paid the acceptance for the progressive stayer in the Group 2 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m) on the Gold Coast last weekend, but the horse was balloted out of contention missing the run.
The Hollindale is an important lead-up for horses eyeing off a run in the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on May 9, and that’s the path Waterhouse has confirmed Pornichet is on before a spring returning targeting the Cox Plate in October.
“I would love to run him in the Doomben Cup the following week and then I would spell him in Queensland,” she said.
“I would then take him to Melbourne to hopefully prepare him for a race like the Cox Plate.”
As a ‘Plan B’ to get him there however she has to start him on Saturday in the Toowoomba Cup where he goes up from a 51kg light Doncaster weight to the hefty 60.5kg top weight in Queensland.
That’s a weight Waterhouse remains confident the horse has the class to carry when Tommy Berry jumps on his back from barrier 10.
“He is a class horse and he certainly will handle that weight easily,” she said.
“You have to remember that these horses carry very big weights in the morning when they go around the track.”
Waterhouse is also unfazed about the rain in Queensland, despite the fact Pornichet is yet to race on a Heavy-rated track.
“It is raining in Queensland and he is a French horse that loves the wet,” she said.
The bookmakers seem to agree with Waterhouse’s assessment and have Pornichet listed as the clear $2.10 in the latest Toowoomba Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
He is followed in the markets by just two other single figure hopes in Hopfgarten ($4.20) and Wish Come True ($8) who are also the next two heaviest weighted runners carrying 58.5kg and 56.5kg respectively.
The Robert Heathcote-trained Brisbane galloper Hopfgarten comes into the race in flying form, Jeff Lloyd riding the Mossman gelding from barrier four.
The gelding, winner of the Listed Brisbane Handicap (1600m) at Doomben in mid-December, won first-up over 1350m at that same track in late March and was last seen crossing second to Sir Moments in the Listed Tails Stakes (1360m) on April 11.
Wish Come True meanwhile represents Melbourne’s Peter Moody, the Aussie Rules five-year-old second in the Yarra Valley Cup over 1950m two back before a last start fourth behind Banca Mo in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) on March 28.
Just outside the three single figure hopes to win Saturday’s Toowoomba Cup are then Volkhere and Hi Son at $10 each.
Heathcote’s other runner, Dehere six-year-old Volkhere comes off a nice third to Epingle at the Gold Coast last Saturday on the short turnaround after being beaten under two lengths in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2200m).
Hi Son meanwhile jumps from gate two this weekend, the Tony Gollan-trained son of Husson fifth in the Chairman’s last time out with improvement expected as he progresses through his autumn – winter campaign.
See below for the full Toowoomba Cup 2015 field, barriers, jockeys, weights and latest fixed win odds provided by our preferred online betting agency Ladbrokes.com.au!