A capacity field of sixteen fillies will line up...
Caulfield’s Robert Smerdon knows his Ballarat Cup 2017 hopeful Grand Dreamer needs a wet track to be a danger in the Victorian country feature race this weekend.
A 13-horse field faces off in Saturday’s Listed $300,000 Ballarat Cup (2200m) including Smerdon’s Grand Reve seven-year-old Grand Dreamer drawn in gate six.
Jockey Patrick Moloney jumps aboard the proven wet-tracker whose last start produced the close third behind Dodging Bullets in the Kyneton Cup (2000m) on November 8.
Getting in on the 54kg minimum weight again, Grand Dreamer chases his first win since a mile and a half victory at Sandown-Lakeside back in late May.
Set to appreciate the rise in distance on Saturday and presenting fit fourth-up, the horse prefers give in the track and so Smerdon is looking to the skies ahead of the weekend.
Ballarat is currently rated a Good (4), but there is rain predicted at the track on race day.
“This will be a stronger race [than last start] so to be fair he would need some rain,” Smerdon told Racing Victoria.
“He loves a bit of cut in the ground, so if he could get some rain – I see there’s a bit around later in the week – that would bring him into it, otherwise this is probably a tougher ask than his last start.”
Grand Dreamer has an ace record of three wins, three seconds and two thirds from nine runs on Soft tracks, while on Heavy going he has an equally imposing strike rate (5:2-2-1).
Saturday marks his first black-type start since a failed 12th to Chocante in the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2200m) back in June.
A key chance in the Ballarat Cup field this season is the Matt Cumani-trained Grey Lion after a maiden Australian win from a gun barrier three draw.
Jockey Jordan Childs retains the ride on the six-year-old Galileo entire who is on the up-and-up after the brave second to Vengeur Masque in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
“I think he’s getting better and better with racing,” locally-based expat Cumani told AAP this week.
“He really seems to be improving with every run so I’m hopeful that he’s still improving into the Ballarat Cup.
“Obviously we had to challenge him and I was pleased that in the Queen Elizabeth he showed he was up to it.
“But these country Cups are winnable for him.
“I think he’s got a good chance and I can’t wait to see him run in it on Saturday.
“If he was a horse that ran from the back of the field then I would be worried dropping back in trip.
“But being a horse that likes to be out on the pace, so long as he can get out on the pace out of the barriers then I’m hopeful it won’t be a problem.”
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