The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Jockey John Allen celebrated his third Ballarat Cup victory surging late to claim the half-a-million-dollar feature in 2022 aboard the Michael Moroney-trained improver Bankers Choice.
Allen has made the Listed $500,000 Ballarat Cup (2000m) his own in recent years after back-to-back victories aboard Kiwia (2018-2019) and then Bankers Choice this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
A Kiwi-bred son of Mongolian Khan, five-year-old Bankers Choice returned to winning form breaking a notable drought for his first turf triumph down under.
“He’s really impressive,” winning trainer Moroney told Racing.com post-victory.
“He’s pretty tough and honest.”
The horse had not won a race since January over the mile back across the Tasman, but had been competitive in plenty since in Australia including his fourth placing in the autumn’s Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) behind Forbidden Love.
He brought in the superior Group 1 form lines from this spring into the Ballarat Cup field with three of his four latest starts being in elite grade.
His last start produced an eye-catching sixth on November 5 behind dual champion Zaaki in Flemington’s Group 1 $3 million Champions Stakes (2000m).
He was only 3.35 lengths beaten that run as a 60/1 outsider in the markets having his first 2000m start.
Allen had Bankers Choice settled fourth then fifth in the run just off the speed in the Ballarat Cup as Sirileo Miss went around the field to take the lead and control the pace up front.
Sirileo Miss led into the turn for home as the field spread right across and the event turned into a genuine staying test over the final furlong.
With 100m to go, Bankers Choice ($3.10) surged to the front and was too strong late getting his big win for the spring.
“He did quicken-up really well,” Moroney said.
“It’s the first Ballarat Cup I’ve won.
“It’s been a long time I’ve been trying to win it, so I’m really glad that we did.”
Chris Waller’s last start Group 2 Matriarch Stakes winning mare Atishu made up late ground getting up into second, but the beaten favourite was no match for the dominant Ballarat Cup winner who had 2.25 lengths to spare over her on the line.
The pacemaker, Sirileo Miss, was brave holding on for third off her front running ride but was just outstayed late with her stamina tested on the run home.
Moroney confirmed plans to now head to the paddock with Bankers Choice, who has been flying this prep, finally getting out to his right distance range.
“We’ll go to the paddock now he can go to Sydney or Melbourne for the autumn,” he said.
“We’ll map a bit of a program for him.
“Really bred to be a 2000m horse being by Mongolian Khan.
“I think a mile, mile and a quarter…those sort of distances are about right for him.”
The make-up of the Ballarat Cup was notably altered with the late scratchings of Desert Icon, Polly Grey, Grandslam and Flash Feeling along with Logvillers who came out earlier in the week.
Many of the best out of the official Ballarat Cup results could back-up in a fortnight on December 3 in the Listed $300,000 Pakenham Cup (2500m) over further.
2022 Ballarat Cup Results & Finishing Order
|1||4||BANKERS CHOICE (NZ)||Michael Moroney||John Allen||1||57kg||$3.10|
|2||3||ATISHU (NZ)||Chris Waller||Damien Oliver||2.25L||5||57kg||$2.70F|
|3||9||SIRILEO MISS||Symon Wilde||Blaike McDougall||2.45L||9||54kg||$14|
|4||11||FUTURE SCORE (IRE)||Matt Cumani||Fred Kersley||3.45L||4||54kg||$31|
|5||7||FOXY FRIDA||Andrew Noblet||Patrick Moloney||3.65L||6||54.5kg||$12|
|6||6||DARK DREAM||Ben & JD Hayes||Daniel Stackhouse||3.85L||3||54.5kg||$21|
|7||12||FLASH AAH||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Jordan Childs||5.35L||2||54kg (cd 54.5kg)||$16|
|8||13||LORD VLADIVOSTOK (NZ)||Michael Hickmott||Harry Coffey||6.1L||8||54kg||$10|
|9||10||BERMADEZ (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Craig Newitt||6.85L||7||54kg||$18|
|10||14||TOKORANGI (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Daniel Moor||21.85L||10||54kg||$21|
|15||FLASH FEELING (NZ)||John Sadler||Matthew Cartwright (a)||0|
|2||POLLY GREY (NZ)||Chris Waller||Ben Melham||0|
|1||DESERT ICON (FR)||Chris Waller||Brett Prebble||0|
|8||LONGVILLERS (FR)||Chris Waller||0|
|5||GRANDSLAM||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ethan Brown||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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