The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Ocean Park six-year-old had been targeted by the stable for this year’s Bendigo Cup on way to a potential shot at the Group 1 $7.75 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 1st at Flemington.
She rewarded connections and further franked the gun form out of this year’s Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2510m) improving on a close sixth in that event when only 1.4 lengths off Lunar Flare and subsequent Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner Francesco Guardi.
Jockey Harry Coffey continued associations with High Emocean and gave her a patient and well-timed ride in the half-a-million-dollar midweek feature to secure back-to-back Bendigo Cup wins following his 2021 success aboard Wentwood.
“It was fantastic,” the stable’s assistant trainer Jack Turnbull told Racing.com after the event.
“A 10/10 ride by Harry.
“He was very patient, rode her fantastic and got the win.”
Coffey had the eventual Bendigo Cup winner positioned in the ideal position one out one back in fourth as Robert Hickmott’s predicted front-runner Verimli lead the field around setting a contained tempo.
She got the blessed run throughout before getting to the outside on the home straight with the Julius Sandhu-trained Port Philip, who had tracked the favourite throughout, also coming with his run over the final furlong.
With 50m to go, High Emocean took over in the lead and held off the hard-closing Port Philip who was wearing her down only to be beaten a neck on the line.
Verimli held for a brave third one and 1 ¼ lengths beaten after leading throughout for three-time Bendigo Cup winning owner Lloyd Williams, while the local hope Wertheimer on the short back-up off a second in the Horsham Cup was good finishing fourth.
“She took the length of the straight, but she got there on the line,” Turnbull said of High Emocean.
“She takes a little bit of time to warm up and pick up, that’s why she loves Flemington.
“We told Harry to just have her there, stoke her up and just be ready.
“This will mean a hell of a lot to the Ballarat stable. She works and trains out of there and the team there do a fantastic job.
“A massive result for the team, and hopefully she’s done enough to get into the Cup next Tuesday.”
There is now a tense wait for connections of High Emocean who needs a half-kilo penalty to be assured of a run in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
She currently has just 50kg in the Melbourne Cup weights and is equal 32nd on the ballot.
The Bendigo Cup $300,000 first prize money will see her move up the order of entry, but not enough to make the top 24 without a penalty.
“We’re praying,” Turnbull said.
“That’s all you can do is win.
“We picked up a healthy cheque today and it’s a race along the way that gets you in.
“She loves Flemington, she loves soft ground. The forecast looks pretty dismal, so fingers crossed she can get in.”
2022 Bendigo Cup Results & Finishing Order
|1||3||HIGH EMOCEAN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Harry Coffey||4||54.5kg||$2.30F|
|2||7||PORT PHILIP (IRE)||Julius Sandhu||Craig Newitt||0.2L||6||54kg||$3.20|
|3||5||VERIMLI (FR)||Robert Hickmott||Anthony Darmanin||1.45L||1||54kg||$11|
|4||8||WERTHEIMER (NZ)||Matthew Enright||Ms Alana Kelly (a)||1.65L||2||54kg||$26|
|5||2||GLINT OF HOPE (JPN)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Daniel Moor||1.95L||3||55.5kg||$9.50|
|6||6||NOBEL HEIGHTS||Matt Cumani||Jordan Childs||7.95L||5||54kg (cd 54.5kg)||$9.50|
|7||4||DADOOZDART (GB)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Jye McNeil||15.95L||7||54kg||$13|
|1||CRYSTAL PEGASUS (GB)||Chris Waller||James McDonald||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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