The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Trainer John Sadler said he “wouldn’t be surprised” to see his roughie hope Observational get up in the 2016 Ballarat Cup on Saturday and end a 27 year drought in the race for the horseman.
The now Caulfield-based Sadler won the provincial Victorian showdown back in 1989 with Pressman’s Choice who had a then 23-year-old Darren Gauci in the saddle.
Since then Sadler has saddled-up four subsequent hopes including Digitalism who finished under a length away fourth to Junoob in the race last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
Sadler’s other recent shots at the Ballarat Cup title were: Laebeel (3rd in 1998), Centico (11th in 1996) and Ladybrid Blue (12th in 1995).
“Twenty-seven years ago, I remember it well,” Sadler told Racing Victoria looking back on his Ballarat Cup success.
“Pressman’s Choice – 1989. I’ve had a few tries since.”
The handicap clash is now worth $300,000 in prize money and on Saturday this year’s Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) is set to run at capacity with 18 starters.
Drawn in barrier eight is Sadler’s recent stable acquisition, the former Lloyd Williams-owned Observational who has Luke Nolen booked for his first ride on the still lightly-raced Galileo six-year-old.
“We ran fourth in it last year, Digitalism, same owners as this horse,” Sadler said.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see him win the race, actually.”
In the latest Ballarat Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au the UK import pays $15 to win and post his first victory since the Listed Golden Mile (1600m) at Bendigo back in March last year.
Since then the galloper has finished in the money just once in his nine starts when third to Leebaz in Caulfield’s Group 3 Easter Cup (2000m) beaten just a quarter-length this autumn.
This time in the horse has had four runs including a fifth to Real Love in the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) at Moonee Valley.
His latest run produced a 10th behind Bloom Time at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day in a Benchmark 96 over 1600m, a run that is better than it looks on paper.
Observational, with Damien Oliver in the saddle, carried 59.5kg in the race and was beaten under four lengths at his 15th career start and his first for Sadler.
In the Ballarat Cup Observational drops down to 55kg and gets the chance to improve second-up for his new stable.
“We haven’t had him a long time, probably six weeks now,” Sadler said.
“He ran well at Flemington the other day without having any luck.
“It’s a little bit unknown about whether he actually does stay.
“More with next preparation in mind for him, we just decided to run him over the 2200m to decide where we go with him.
“He had three runs [this preparation] for the previous stable, and the one for us.
“It’s not a horse I’ve done a lot with, he’s a fairly light-framed horse, but I think he’s done enough.
“The interesting thing will be if he runs the trip strongly.”
The major players in the Ballarat Cup betting markets meanwhile include the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained SA Derby placegetter Cool Chap ($7.50), his stablemate Nozomi ($8) and Darren Weir’s Eclipse Stakes graduate (3rd) from last weekend Lidari ($8.50).
To back your favourites at the right price in the weekend’s feature races visit our No. 1 recommended bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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