Melbourne Cup winning trainer Darren Weir shoots for back-to-back success in his local cup race on Thursday afternoon saddling-up the favourite Master Zephyr in the Warrnambool Cup 2016.
The headline event of the annual Warrnambool Carnival, this year’s $200,000 Listed Sungold Milk Warrnambool Cup (2350m) has attracted an above capacity field of stayers.
There has been one early scratching, the Tony McEvoy-trained Lucky Lucky Lucky (18) coming out after drawing wide.
The feature is still set to run at the 16-starter capacity with the first emergency Choix Dee Maia (10) gaining a start.
Leading the latest Warrnambool Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost – at $2.90 and firming is the locally-trained Master Zephyr.
Prepared from Weir’s Yangery base, the imported Shirocco four-year-old has had seven races down under since his arrival from England last spring.
He broke through with his maiden win in Australia last start on April 17 taking out the Terang Cup (2156m) by a runaway three and a quarter lengths carrying 54.5kg to victory with Dean Yendall aboard.
This week for his shot at a Black-Type cup victory, Master Zephyr has Brad Rawiller in the saddle from a nice gate three draw on a manageable 55.5kg.
Overseas the gelding has winning form up to 2500m so the extra metres on Thursday should suit.
Last season Weir won the Warrnambool Cup with another import Tall Ship (2015) who like Master Zephyr came off a Terang Cup win, which bodes well for this year’s favourite.
Just three other runners sit under $10 in the Warrnambool Cup markets for a win this year including Adirondack ($6.50) who gets the rails run from barrier one.
Cranbourne’s Shawn Mathrick trains the Lonhro five-year-old who comes off a big VOBIS Gold Heath (2000m) win at Caulfield when destroying his rivals by five lengths on April 16.
That was the gelding’s longest-distanced win to date, but he was runner-up in the Stony Creek Cup over 2100m in March and also drops from 59kg last start to the 54kg minimum on Thursday afternoon.
Master Of Arts ($7.50) follows in the markets and also gets in on 54kg, Yendall riding the other major Weir-trained runner in this year’s Cup.
A progressive four-year-old Mastercraftsman stallion, the young grey posted his third career win last start when winning over 2014m at Morphettville on April 16.
He carted a hefty 60kg to victory in Adelaide that run and should be flying with six kilos less in the Warrnambool Cup, his first Black-Type run since a brave third to Upham in last year’s Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2020m) in Brisbane.
Rounding out the single-figure hopes at $9.50 is Weir’s third and final hope of securing successive editions of the handicap clash, Falago in barrier four with 56kg under apprentice Harry Coffey.
The five-year-old Fastnet Rock gelding won the Yarra Valley Cup (1950m) on a Heavy (9) track in March and is undefeated on Heavy going.
That’s a big plus heading into Thursday’s clash, Warrnambool currently rated a Heavy (10).
Falago went on to finish under three lengths away fifth to Berisha in the Listed Mornington Cup (2400m) as a $31 roughie before his last start seventh to stablemate Master Zephyr in the Terang Cup.
Gai Waterhouse meanwhile prepares this year’s Warrnambool Cup equal top weight Café Society who pays $13 and carries 58kg as does the Aaron Purcell-trained Swacadelic ($10).
The two heavily weighted gallopers are also drawn alongside each other out wide in gates 16 and 15 respectively, but will come into 14 and 13.
Damien Oliver rides Waterhouse’s French import Café Society whose last run was an eighth in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) on April 9, while former German-raced galloper Swacadelic has Mark Zahra aboard after Oliver rode him to a last start win at Flemington on Anzac Day.
See below for the full Warrnambool Cup 2016 field, barriers, jockeys and weights as well as the latest Fixed Win odds provided by Ladbrokes.com.au!