Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
He is a $20 outsider in race betting but the lightly-raced Knowable is thriving and “in a zone” ahead of Saturday’s 2017 Ballarat Cup according to trainer Steve Richards.
A well-bred four-year-old son of Hinchinbrook, Knowable heads into the Listed $300,000 Ballarat Cup (2200m) on the back of a string of second place finishes.
The latest was a brave effort stepping up from a mile to 2000m for the first time at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day in a Benchmark 90 Handicap won by fellow Ballarat Cup rival Oncidium Ruler.
Flemington-based Richards was happy with his horse’s close finish that day, but it was the way Knowable came through the run and has improved since that earned him a step-up in class and distance on Ballarat Cup Day.
“His run at Flemington was pretty good the first time at 2000m,” Richards told Racing Victoria on Thursday.
“It wasn’t Dean’s [Dean Yendall] fault the other day, the Godolphin horse Tarquin led, and the second horse [Tiger Tim] dropped off the speed, the leader dropped off, and he was left in front about 400m from home.
“If it had have been at the 300-metre mark [where the leaders dropped out], he may have been able to hold on and win the race.
“It was just one of those things, as soon as he got left in front at that spot – I was in the stand opposite the post – and I thought, ‘Boy, you’re in front a long way from home for your first go at 2000m’.
“And in all fairness, he tried his heart out but the winner was just too strong at the finish.
“The thing that swayed me [to back up in the Ballarat Cup] was the way he came through the run.
“He really surprised me to come through the run so well. First try, it was a bit of a hard run, it might’ve taken his toll a little bit, but the horse has actually improved and gone ahead.
“So I thought if he can continue on like this, we’ll throw in a nom [nomination] and see what happens.
“And his work’s been fantastic, he’s absolutely thrived.”
The Michael Kent-trained Oncidium Ruler is down from 56.5kg to 54kg in the Ballarat Cup field and from barrier two pays $10 for the win.
Knowable meanwhile has a wide barrier 12 draw to overcome and this time meets his last start conqueror equal in the weights as Dean Yendall retains the ride.
Still, Richards remains confident his progressive galloper can put in a big late spring run and prove a more competitive chance than his $20 Ballarat Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au suggest.
“I can’t get the horse any better, he’s really in a zone this horse at the moment, and I think it’s worth a throw at the stumps,” he said.
“I know they’re seasoned horses and a bit better, he’s only a four-year-old and lightly raced, but the signs are there to have a crack at it, at least.
“You won’t die wondering.”
The latest Ballarat Cup betting markets are dominated by the now Darren Weir-trained import Mr Garcia ($2.90) coming off a lead-up win on VRC Oaks Day at Flemington when prepared by Andreas Wohler.
Check out the full weekend racing odds and offers on the Ballarat Cup 2017 now at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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