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Sydney’s David Vandyke believes an on-pace run from his outside hope Prince Cheri in Saturday’s 2015 Ballarat Cup can help put the stallion in the finish as he shoots for his first win in over two years.
Despite strong trial form, the imported Lando seven-year-old hasn’t won under race conditions since September of 2013 at Group 3 level in Sydney.
Last start Prince Cheri ran at Randwick on October 17 in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) crossing a close third just a length off Ruling Dynasty in the mile and a half clash carrying 56.5kg.
In that run he beat home Gai Waterhouse’s former Sydney Cup winner The Offer (4th) who franked the form going on to win the Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) next start before a Melbourne Cup eight and second in the Sandown Cup over the two miles.
A winning Warwick Farm trial since for Prince Cheri on November 9 convinced Vandyke to give the ageing stayer a shot at Saturday’s $300,000 Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m).
It will be his first Melbourne run since his 10th to Magnapal in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) on September 19, and he goes up half a kilo to 57kg with Mark Zahra aboard from a wide barrier 13 of 18 draw.
The gate is of some concern to Vandyke, but he remains hopeful that an upfront ride could produce an all-the-way success from his galloper the bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au only rate a $21 chance to win in the latest Ballarat Cup odds.
“If he brings his A-game tomorrow, he’ll be very hard to beat,” Vandyke told Racing Ahead on RSN.
“He’ll need some luck from the alley, but he does race on pace. I’m sure Zahra will roll forward and take up a prominent position.
“We know he’s going to run the 2200m right out (and) 57kg is a fine weight for him to carry.
“He only got beat in his younger days by 3.4 lengths by Boban and It’s A Dundeel carrying 59 in weight-for-age conditions, so 57 shouldn’t worry him in a Listed handicap.
“He won that trial last week.
“The only query I’ve got is the travel down to Melbourne, and running the Melbourne way of going.
“That’s the big stumbling block for him tomorrow.”
Besides the failed Naturalism Stakes effort, Prince Cheri’s only other Melbourne run is an eighth at Moonee Valley on September 5, giving him just two runs for two unplaced finishes this way of going.
Ballarat Cup betting is led by the Robert Smerdon-trained mare Ungrateful Ellen ($5.50) who was last seen running fourth to Lucia Valentina in the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) on Emirates Stakes Day at Flemington.
Also high up the Ballarat Cup odds this season are Akzar ($9) for Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir and Sysmo ($9) for Adelaide’s Tony McEvoy.
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