The $100,000 Werribee Cup has attracted a quality field of stayers which are continuing their preparations after a long spring carnival.
In Summary: THE CHAIRMAN was a winner on Oaks Day at Flemington last month and it’s our clear top pick. The Mick Price-trained gelding has more upside than most in this field and it should be tough to beat. Kiwi mare Mabeel and the talented High Church are the main dangers.
See our betting tips and full race preview below.
1 Lidari – Eight-year-old which is having its first start around Werribee. Finished second in the Crystal Mile earlier this preparation, but its form has been mixed since. It is often well-favoured in the betting, but punters might have it on a short leash after a disappointing effort in the Ballarat Cup last start.
2 Taiyoo – Three-time winner at this distance from nine starts and it won the Kyneton Cup just two starts back. The Weir-trained gelding couldn’t keep up with the top spring carnival horses in the Naturalism Stakes and the JRA Cup, but it’s a 14-time winner overall and it should be respected. Only query is whether it can bounce back after a poor showing in the Ballarat Cup.
3 Mabeel – The son of Savabeel has had three runs in Australia after coming over from New Zealand with a good record. It had won six from 13 starts in New Zealand, but its three Australian starts have yielded only one placing. That came in a strong form race at Flemington and it didn’t have much luck in the Kilmore Cup last start. Loves to roll along in front and it could go close if the race is run to suit.
4 Tooleybuc Kid – Another Weir-trained runner which has placed at its last two starts. Both of those runs came up a much lower level than what it faces here, but it does have the inside draw and a very light weight. The seven-year-old carries only 54kg which will help and it runs best at this distance.
5 High Church – Winner of only four from 20, but it has more upside than most in this field. The lightly-tried six-year-old finished second in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown before flashing home late for third at Moonee Valley last start. The Werribee track should suit its running style and it drops from 59kg to 54kg for this. Likely to be well-favoured in the betting.
6 Master Zephyr – Its last start run at Moonee Valley was full of merit and similar tactics might be applied here. The five-year-old was used to sitting on the pace in most of its races, but they rode it back last start and it sprinted home well. Apprentice jockey Ben Allen will likely opt to drag Master Zephyr back as the pace should be on.
7 Refectory – Won consecutive races in August and it didn’t disgrace itself when third at Flemington in a much harder race last start. Trainer Richard Laming is in form and the drop back in distance after racing at 2500m should help. Jockey Katelyn Mallyon in the saddle, expect it to be ridden on the pace.
8 Freshwater Storm – Winner of 11 races which included the Gold Nugget at Caulfield earlier this year. Its form since has been inconsistent, but it can perform on the big stage when it’s right. It got too far back in the Kyneton Cup and again last start at Moonee Valley. Expect a more positive ride on this occasion.
9 The Chairman – The Mick Price-trained gelding is the form runner of the field having won consecutive races throughout the spring before running third in the Kilmore Cup. It won a rating 70 race at Bendigo before stepping up to city level and winning at Flemington on Oaks Day. That form should stack up nicely at this level and it will appreciate the light weight.
10 Loving Home – Chris Waller-trained gelding which has mixed form this season. It finished second at Warwick Farm in Sydney before coming to Melbourne and produced a mixed bag of results. It won well last start and it has placed in six from seven starts at this distance, but this could be too tough for it.
11 Radical – Doesn’t appear to be going well enough to figure in the finish. It ran on well for fifth behind Loving Home last start, but that shouldn’t be the best form guide for the Werribee Cup.
12 Something To Share – Capped off a string of four-placed finishes with a second placing last start in the Ararat Cup. It has had three starts on this track which is a positive and it’s a multiple winner at this distance. It will come into calculations with some moisture in the track as it has won four times on rain-affected surfaces.
13 Temps Voleur – Throws in the odd good run and it’s trained by a master staying trainer. It will set the pace and makes it own luck, but it would need to improve a few lengths to hold off the challengers.