Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Kiwi raider Benzini is out to set a new modern-day weight carrying record after being allocated the hefty 60kg top weight in Saturday’s 2017 Ipswich Cup field.
The Adrian & Harry Bull-trained seven-year-old is one of 15 stayers heading to the Heavy-rated track on the weekend for this year’s $175,000 Listed Channel 7 Ipswich Cup (2150m).
It has been over 12 months since Benzini enjoyed a turf triumph, but that hasn’t stopped the handicappers in Queensland allocating the Tale Of The Cat gelding the big weight for his Ipswich Cup bid.
The 60kg allocation has confused co-trainer Harry Bull, but he is hoping their ageing galloper can overcome the weight, break his year long drought and set a new weight carrying record to boot.
“I wasn’t expecting 60 kilograms,” Bull, who co-trains around 10 horses in work with his father Adrian on their hobby farm at Hunterville in New Zealand, told Racing Queensland.
“I thought he’d get a kilo less as that’s what he carried when he finished fourth in the Premier’s Cup.
“I thought 59 was going to be the top weight.
“It’s a big weight but he carried a big weight in Hong Kong [with 57kg for his Group 1 Hong Kong Vase sixth over 2400m at Sha Tin in December last year] and has raced well in the past in weight-for-age races at Group 1 level.”
The metric system was introduced in 1973 and since then the highest weight carried to victory by an Ipswich Cup winner was the 58kg Maurus carted last year.
He beat the previous record of 56.5kg co-held by the Tony Gollan-trained Brave Ali (2014) and Golden Rhapsody (1981).
Benzini was in the sunshine state last Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival enjoying an Eagle Farm win over the mile and a half in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).
Despite a number of competitive runs since including a Group 1 New Zealand Stakes (2000m) second when narrowly beaten at Ellerslie in March this year, the horse has remained winless since.
This time in Benzini has twice lined-up in Brisbane finishing fourth in both his winter runs.
The first had him a length off the upset winner Kaiser Franz at Eagle Farm on a Heavy (8) track in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2200m).
He then went out to defend his Brisbane Cup title in the altered race, contested this season over 2200m at Doomben, but could only manage to cross four lengths back fourth to Chocante in the event last Saturday.
On the quick back-up, Bull has opted to press on with Benzini hoping for a consolation win in the wet at Ipswich on the weekend despite the galloper’s record showing just the one third from three runs on Heavy going to date.
“He had 59kgs and was a run short when he ran fourth on a heavy track in the Premier’s Cup,” he said.
“A wet track is not great but he handled the heavy going in the Premier’s Cup quite well.
“His Brisbane Cup run was very good considering the fast time they ran home.”
Kiwi hoop Kelly McCulloch replaced Tegan Harrison in the saddle for the Brisbane Cup last weekend and retains the ride for the Ipswich Cup on Saturday.
“Kelly is coming back over to ride her in the Ipswich Cup and if everything goes to plan Benzini will then run in the Caloundra Cup,” Bull said.
The $175,000 Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) runs at the Sunshine Coast on July 1.
The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Wanted mare Sort After ($3.60) leads the latest Ipswich Cup odds with Benzini ($4.60) the firming second favourite.
To back Benzini this weekend at the right price in Ipswich Cup 2017 betting visit Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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