A lower than expected class of gallopers for Sunday’s Werribee Cup 2015 has Caulfield horseman Henry Dwyer seriously considering a run in the Victorian Cup clash with his Ballarat Cup placegetter Sonntag.
Teofilo five-year-old Sonntag came off a string of poor runs when finishing near last on four occasions including his 14th behind Almoonqith in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) as a 100/1 shot to improve on November 21 in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m).
There he was beaten under a length when third from a wide barrier 15 of 17 draw behind the Chris Waller-trained Junoob in his first top three run since his second to triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva’s three-quarter sister La Amistad in the Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m) over the two miles at Flemington back in May.
Showing nice form at Ballarat, Sonntag was originally on track for a second-up run on New Year’s Day in the $150,000 Listed Bagot Handicap (2800m) at Flemington.
Dwyer has since reconsidered going straight into the January 1 staying feature and is looking at running the $600,000 earner this weekend in the $120,000 Listed Werribee Cup (2600m) after Sonntag’s nice work throughout the week.
Fourteen original entries for the handicap clash, nominations for which were extended until 10:00am (AEST) on Wednesday, with the standout being Darren Weir’s import Tall Ship coming off a Group 2 Sandown Classic (2400m) second behind Who Shot Thebarman.
Dwyer believes that the rest of the entries are mediocre and his horse is a genuine hope of taking up the feature despite having no experience at the track or the exact distance.
“I was keen to go into the Bagot off a five-week break and keep him nice and fresh for New Year’s Day,” Dwyer told AAP.
“The Werribee Cup is looking like being fairly weak with the exception of Tall Ship and generally I don’t skip a race because of one horse.
“If he has a good week for the rest of the week, we’ll probably run him on Sunday.”
Looking further ahead into the galloper’s 2016 campaign Dwyer is keen to keep Sonntag in work looking at a New Zealand raid including the $500,000 Group 1 Auckland Cup (3200m) in March.
“The 2800 to 3200 (metres) is his distance range now,” Dwyer said.
“After the Bagot he’ll probably go to New Zealand for the Wellington Cup on January 24 and the Auckland Cup at the start of March.”
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