Sydney’s leading lady of Gai Waterhouse confirmed it was onto the 2015 Melbourne Cup in six days’ time for her proven two-miler The Offer who did an excellent job to win Wednesday’s $300,000 Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) carrying the top weight.
Waterhouse won her maiden ‘Loving Trophy’ two years ago with race favourite Fiorente backing up from a Cox Plate third to win the 2013 edition of the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
Now the 2015 Melbourne Cup on November 3 is on the cards for her Bendigo Cup winner The Offer after he carted 59kg to a gutsy win over the Robert Hickmott-trained Divan in the midweek feature in country Victoria.
Saluting at $7.50, Montjeu seven-year-old The Offer came off a fourth over 2400m in the Listed Tattersall’s Cup (2400m) at Randwick on October 17 where he had 61kg on his back and was only beaten 1.9 lengths.
The drop to 59kg and a jockey change with Michael Walker, who was on Cox Plate runner-up and fellow Melbourne Cup-bound Criterion last Saturday, in the saddle saw The Offer prove his class and prove too good for his Bendigo Cup rivals.
It was a genuine pace, which also suited The Offer who has winning form up to 3200m having won the Group 1 Sydney Cup in 2014, with eventual last-past-the-post Thunder Set rolling along up front leading the Bendigo Cup field around.
Hickmott’s other runner Wexford Town settled second ahead of the Michael Moroney-trained Araldo Junior while The Offer was running fourth just ahead of the race favourite and eventual third placegetter – 2013 Crown Oaks winning mare Kirramosa.
Thunder Set ensured it was a truly run race leading by four lengths from Araldo Junior who had moved up into second by the 1600m, The Offer still travelling fourth on the outside of the Murray Baker-trained Kiwi Maygrove.
Coming off a fourth behind Almoonqith in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) from October 21, Maygrove enjoyed a lovely run moving into fourth on the inside of The Offer with the eventual placegetters Divan and Kirramosa next best in running.
After rounding the bend for home, The Offer joined the frontrunners at the top of the straight after Walker cut the corner on the big honest stayer, while the John Sargent-trained Kirramosa was also coming on.
Maygrove also cut the corner but was a touch unlucky suffering some interference with he and The Offer running stride for stride over the closing stages.
The Offer had enough in the tank to not give up and draw away, while Maygrove could only manage to hold for fourth after the swamp of late runners, thanks to Walker ensuring he kept his horse in clear galloping room for the run home.
It was an outstanding performance from runner-up Divan ($7.50), the Zabeel four-year-old having just his sixth career start and coming off a 2000m win at Pakenham from October 15, who was disadvantaged at the weights in the Bendigo Cup.
Third placed beaten favourite Kirramosa ($5.50), who dumped her rider Chris Parnham after the post, was slightly wayward at the top of the straight but was strong late showing her true staying ability in a good run on the back of a 10th to subsequent Cox Plate winner Winx in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in Sydney.
One-time favourite for last year’s Melbourne Cup before missing the two mile clash with injury, The Offer won’t be absent from this year’s field.
He currently is rated a $67 outsider in pre-field Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on the first four races on Cup Day next Tuesday, looking to become the first winner of the world’s richest handicap to come out of the Bendigo Cup.
“Melbourne Cup!” declared Waterhouse after the Bendigo Cup.
“His price has dropped already.
“He really did a grand job.”
Walker said it was a privilege to ride The Offer who he belies is a genuine Melbourne Cup hope next week.
“It’s a privilege to ride such a tough horse,” he said.
“He’s definitely got the ability to do it.”
To back The Offer next race in the Melbourne Cup at the right price head to Ladbrokes.com.au who have $150 in bonuses for punters that deposit just $50 and quote the code BONUS150!
2015 Bendigo Cup Results & Finishing Order
Bendigo Race 8 – 28/19/2015
|1||1||THE OFFER (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||Michael Walker||–||7||59kg||$7.50|
|2||9||DIVAN (NZ)||Robert Hickmott||Damien Oliver||0.75L||1||54kg||$7.50|
|3||3||KIRRAMOSA (NZ)||John Sargent||Chris Parnham||0.95L||2||54.5kg||$5.50EF|
|4||4||MAYGROVE||Murray Baker||Matthew Cameron||1.05L||4||54kg||$7|
|5||5||TOOLEYBUC KID||Darren Weir||Dean Yendall||1.8L||8||54kg||$10|
|6||2||LEEBAZ (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||4.55L||11||57.5kg||$5.50EF|
|7||8||WEXFORD TOWN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Craig Williams||6.8L||6||54kg||$11|
|8||7||ARALDO JUNIOR (GER)||Michael Moroney||Craig Newitt||9.55L||9||54kg||$11|
|9||10||SAVANNAH MOON||Rod Symons||Ms Jackie Beriman (a)||9.75L||10||54kg||$81|
|10||6||KAREEMING||Pat Carey||Damian Lane||10.25L||5||54kg||$11|
|11||11||THUNDER SET||Vince Jones||Darren Gauci||15.25L||3||54kg||$101|