Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse is hoping for a first-up win at Hawkesbury today for her former Sydney Cup winner The Offer who could head towards a Sydney Spring Racing Carnival Group 1 like the 2015 The Metropolitan this campaign.
The Offer rounded out a top autumn campaign last autumn with an elite level win over the two miles at Randwick taking out the Sydney Cup (3200m) by nearly four lengths, but hasn’t been seen in the winner’s stall since.
The now seven-year-old son of Montjeu was last seen crossing a disappointing eighth behind Addictive Habit in a Listed 1800m race at the Gold Coast in Queensland on June 20, and he returns to racing this afternoon at Hawkesbury in the $100,000 Listed Rowley Mile (1600m).
This year’s Rowley Mile field is down to just seven runners with the early scratching of Uncle Sugar, and The Offer jumps from barrier four with Blake Shinn aboard.
He carries the 61kg top weight giving the veteran stayer a tough test, but his third in a 1250m Randwick trial on July 31 behind his fellow Group 1 winning stablemate Amanpour showed he was in good form.
The Rowley Mile is The Offer’s maiden run at Hawkesbury and it is a wide open market at Ladbrokes.com.au on the handicap clash.
Current market mover and $3 favourite is Dragon Flyer, to jump from a nice barrier three draw with Kerrin McEvoy in the saddle.
The Offer meanwhile is at $5, Waterhouse hoping he handles the big weight to kick off a spring campaign targeting a race like the $750,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) over the mile and a half at Royal Randwick on Epsom Handicap Day, October 3.
Waterhouse has saddled up more The Metropolitan runners than any other trainer in history with 37 starters for eight wins, four seconds and three third placegetters to date.
Her latest The Metropolitan winner was Glencadam Gold (2012).
During last year’s Spring Carnival The Offer was tracking towards a run in the world’s richest handicap, the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
He failed to fire over his preparation however and didn’t race in the ‘race that stops a nation’, and Waterhouse hopes to take him to Melbourne for some type of staying major this spring if he can prove himself at home in Sydney first.
“I’d love to send him to something like the Metropolitan, or if he really comes up I’ll take him south,” she told AAP this week.
Some of The Offer’s other notable Rowley Mile rivals today include Chris Waller’s Winter Stakes winner Rugged Cross ($4.80) and the Garry Frazer-trained local mare Campania ($5) who comes off a Rosehill win over 1900m from the start of the month.
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