The last Group 1 race of the season in Australia...
The 2017 Ballarat Cup is the key Victorian race taking place on the weekend and the talented OTI Racing-owned import Grey Lion has come up trumps with barrier three for the Saturday feature.
Due to run as Race 8 at 4:40pm (AEDT), this season’s Listed $300,000 Ballarat Cup (2200m) attracted a field of 13 stayers.
One of the sure to be favourites in Ballarat Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au is the Matt Cumani-trained Galileo entire Grey Lion, the locally-based six-year-old still chasing his maiden win down under.
The galloper hasn’t won since March of 2016 back in France, but has been competitive in plenty over the past year and a half including his lead-up second to Vengeur Masque in Flemington’s Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) on November 11.
Grey Lion goes up a kilo to 55kg in the Ballarat Cup field, but still looks well-weighted and the barrier three draw is favourable according to Terry Henderson from OTI.
“That’s super,” Henderson said of the barrier, speaking to Racing Victoria on Wednesday morning.
“He needs it this horse as he’s a little one-dimensional at this stage but over the 2200 metres from that draw, he’d be hard to beat I would have thought.”
The other best drawn runners in the Ballarat Cup in gates one and two respectively are the Tony McEvoy-trained warhorse Big Memory and Michael Kent’s last start Flemington winner from Emirates Stakes Day Oncidium Ruler.
Duke Of Marmalade eight-year-old Big Memory is after his first win since the Listed Roy Higgins Quality (2600m) back in March and is a graduate out of the Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) from November 1.
In that mile and a half clash the veteran ran sixth, second last to Qewy, carrying 55.5kg and will need to be improving even dropping a half-kilo and 200m for Saturday.
Apprentice Beau Mertens has the ride on Strategic six-year-old Oncidium Ruler who is in on the 54kg minimum after carrying 2.5kg more to a 2000m win last time out.
He has winning form up to 2500m so only needs to handle the rise in class to be a competitive force in the Ballarat Cup field this spring.
There are two other last start winners in the field with the Darren Weir-trained Paco Boy gelding Mr Garcia having his first run for his Victorian trainer and the Henry Dwyer-trained Sonntag.
Formerly prepared by Germany’s Melbourne Cup winning trainer Andreas Wohler, Mr Garcia won his Australian debut over 1800m at Flemington on VRC Oaks Day and drops from 58kg to 54kg chasing successive Victorian wins this weekend.
Sonntag is also down notably in weight from 57.5kg to 54kg, the locally-trained Teofilo seven-year-old coming off a solid Ararat Cup (2000m) victory from November 12.
Heading the Ballarat Cup weights meanwhile is the Chris Waller-trained Antonio Giuseppe (58kg), the class son of 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking out to atone for a lead-up seventh in the Group 2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
Antonio Giuseppe comes back notably in grade and should be better suited to the extra distance having been competitive in longer races earlier this preparation.
See below for the full Ballarat Cup 2017 field, barriers, jockeys and weights with updated odds to be available shortly from Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 Ballarat Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Ballarat Race 8 (4:40pm) – 25/11/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1240×54277||ANTONIO GIUSEPPE (NZ)||Chris Waller||Michael Walker||5||58kg||101|
|2||5x246211x0||DE LITTLE ENGINE||Danny O’Brien||Ben Thompson (a)||10||56kg||97|
|3||7614246054||EXTRA ZERO||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Regan Bayliss||4||55.5kg||96|
|4||02510×0046||BIG MEMORY (FR)||Tony McEvoy||Luke Currie||1||55kg||95|
|5||076×070342||GREY LION (IRE)||Matt Cumani||Jordan Childs||3||55kg||95|
|6||66214×2703||SECOND BULLET||Danny O’Brien||Ben Melham||11||54kg||93|
|7||110x4x57x1||MR GARCIA (GB)||Darren Weir||Ben Allen (a)||9||54kg||92|
|8||136x668x60||BIG BLUE (GB)||James Cummings||Stephen Baster||13||54kg||91|
|9||96x990x701||SONNTAG||Henry Dwyer||Jye McNeil||7||54kg||89|
|10||x431431x01||ONCIDIUM RULER||Michael Kent||Beau Mertens (a)||2||54kg||87|
|11||x51710x073||GRAND DREAMER||Robert Smerdon||Patrick Moloney||6||54kg||80|
|12||39×8057222||KNOWABLE||Steve Richards||Dean Yendall||12||54kg||72|
|13||2605043313||JIMMIE JIM||Charles Quick||Ms Nikita Beriman||8||54kg||57|
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