Orbec may be a market drifter for Wednesday’s 2015 Geelong Cup but the import’s trainer John Thompson is confident a quiet off-pace ride in the Spring feature keeps the horse in the mix.
A full field lines-up in this year’s $300,000 Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m), the mile and a half country Victorian feature often used as a lead-up into the iconic $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) held this year at Flemington on November 3.
With both Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011) completing the Geelong Cup – Melbourne Cup double in recent years, the former is attracting classier fields each spring.
This year the favourite in Geelong Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, where punters can lock in Best Tote or SP + 20% on the race on Wednesday, is former Caulfield Cup runner-up from 2013 Dandino ($4).
He is followed closely in the Geelong Cup odds by British raider Quest For More ($5.50) who carries the 59kg top weight with Sydney-based hoop Tommy Berry aboard on way to the “015 Melbourne Cup that he pays $26 in the all-in markets to win.
Five-year-old Le Harve stallion Orbec meanwhile also opened at single-figures earlier in the week to become this year’s Geelong Cup winner, but has since eased out from $6.50 to $9.
Last year’s Geelong Cup winning jockey Craig Williams shoots for another win this season aboard Orbec from the inside alley, taking over for Zac Purton who rode the horse last time out when finishing three lengths away fourth to Magic Hurricane in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) in Sydney at the start of the month.
That was the horse’s fourth start over the distance he runs over again on Wednesday, and Orbec boasts a good record of two wins and a second at the 2400m.
Thompson has indicated that instructions to Williams for the Geelong Cup will be to stay patient and ride him quietly after being unhappy with Purton’s The Metropolitan ride on the import who is yet to win down under.
“I asked Zac (Purton) if he’d watched the horse’s Newcastle Cup run (when second to Beyond Thankful over 2300m on September 18) and he said, ‘Yeah’ so I told him I wanted a bit more patient ride than that but he lead,” Thompson explained to Racenet.
“I think if we can get him to really switch off, he’s got a great sprint for a stayer so ridden quietly I think he’ll really attack the line.
“Craig Williams gets on him on Wednesday and I want the horse to be ridden more patiently so the barrier draw helps.
“I just want to see him relax and not overdo it.
“All the signs are the horse will run well.”
Thompson also said that since arriving in Victoria a little over a week ago, Orbec had been in top condition.
“[He] hasn’t missed a beat,” he said.
“He’s settled in really well. He’s in good order and I couldn’t be any happier with him.
“He’s a tough bugger.”
Orbec is currently well down the Melbourne Cup order of entry sitting 51st for the capacity 24-starter field, and as such is a $201 roughie in the futures markets for the ‘race that stops a nation’.
Should he win the Geelong Cup, the only option to get him into the starting line-up would be to run and win the Lexus Stakes on Victoria Derby Day and receive a notable penalty.
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