On the 28th October 2014, the connections of the Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer were given the disheartening news that their stayer would not be contesting the 2014 Melbourne Cup, the race he was early favourite for. This Wednesday, exactly one year on, connections will be hoping The Offer, currently fifteenth on the order of entry for this year’s Melbourne Cup, can bring them better news and claim the G3 Bendigo Cup. He is $7.50 in what shapes up as very competitive market with a further five runners under double-figure odds including both of Lloyd Williams’ representatives, Wexford Tavern ($9.00) and Divan ($7.50). If either is successful, it will give the Williams camp their second Bendigo Cup in five years after Tanby won the 2011 edition.
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1. THE OFFER – M Walker (7) 59kgs
Chased home the in-form Beyond Thankful in the G3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) when seventh (1.7 lengths) before a month later, at his most recent start, working home well to finish fourth (1.9 lengths) to Ruling Dynasty in the Listed Tatt’s Cup. He held his ground well last start under 61kgs in a race that was run at a moderate pace. Drops a couple of kilos here, the first time this campaign he has carried under 60kgs, a nice weight given the limit here is 54kgs.
In solid form for a race like this and any give in the track only increases his already strong hopes.
2. LEEBAZ – D Dunn (11) 57.5kgs
Drew wide in both the G1 Rupert Clarke (1400m) and G1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), where he finished ninth in both events, making little impression in either. A much handier draw combined with the step up to 2000m, saw the Zabeel 6yo produce take up his favourite role on the speed and produce a stronger performance in the G3 David Jones Cup, but he still no match for Stratum Star late, finishing third (2.3 lengths). Drawn out again here though and gets out to 2400m for the first time as well, both factors to be aware of.
3. KIRRAMOSA – C Parnham (2) 54.5kgs
Building up nicely in her first three runs back from a spell, including a fifth (3 lengths) to Kermadec in the G1 George Main Stakes (1600m), and that form saw her specked in the G1 Epsom, firming from 12’s into 9’s. She was deep and midfield leaving the 600m where she made a quick move around eventual winner Winx. The pair came together on the bend but the early move and bumping duel left the 5yo mare flat for the final 200m and she crossed the line in tenth (4.4 lengths). Set a task last start and to finish 4.4 lengths behind the Cox Plate heroine looks good, especially when she drops back to this grade and steps up the 2400m.
4. MAYGROVE – M Cameron (4) 54kgs
From the all-conquering Murray Baker stable, the 5yo gelding finished fourth (3.4 lengths) in the G3 Bart Cummings and the same position again in last week’s Geelong Cup when 5.2 lengths behind impressive winner Almoonqith, with Dandino second. Last weekend’s Cup quinella are both going very well and he’ll get a lovely run here from gate four.
He hasn’t been far away in similar races to this previously and should get every chance to get a little closer again here.
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5. TOOLEYBUC KID – D Yendall (8) 54kgs
The 6yo from the Darren Weir yard has made steady improvement at each of his three runs back from a spell, the most recent seeing him run fifth (3.3 lengths) to Desert Jeuney at Racing.com Park. Was doing his best work late in the 2000m event and that run, combined with a nice weight drop of 3kgs, should see him at his best now for Wednesday’s race. Winner of the Pakenham Cup earlier in the run, a run that was followed by a fourth in the Warrnambool Cup, expect to see him finishing well.
6. KAREEMING – D Lane (5) 54kgs
Nothing if not consistent is this Pat Carey trained galloper who has only finished out of the money twice in his ten starts. He was disappointed for a run as the 5/1 favourite at Flemington two runs back in Open (2500m) company, before being caught in the final few bounds by Digitalism in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) just over a fortnight ago. Ran second to Tooleybuc Kid in the Pakenham Cup and hasn’t gone backwards since. Should secure a lovely run close to the speed for Lane and rates a genuine each-way chance.
7. AROLDO JUNIOR – C Newitt (9) 54kgs
Imported galloper broke through for his first local win at start number three, with an all-the-way win in the Benalla Cup (2046m) last month. From a wide gate he took up the running and proved too strong for his eight rivals, defeating Thunder Lady by 1.5 lengths. Winner over 2800m in Europe, the distance will be in his favour and would expect similar tactics to last start be employed. He’ll give them something to chase here.
8. WEXFORD TOWN – C Williams (6) 54kgs
Hung on to win his first Australian starts at Morphettville two runs back, defeating Doumaran by a long neck, before finding the stronger class of the G3 Bart Cummings (2500m) too rich and weakening from the front position to run eighth (6.1 lengths). The Bart Cummings was over three weeks ago and on his three Australian starts since arriving from Europe, hard to see him winning here.
9. DIVAN – D Oliver (1) 54kgs
A very lightly raced 4yo by Zabeel who will line up for only his sixth start on Wednesday. The stable-mate to Wexford Tavern comes out of a strong win in a BM 70 (2000m) at Racing.com Park a fortnight ago where he accounted for Savannah Moon – winner of four of her twenty-nine starts. Hasn’t been the greatest of Springs for the stable by their lofty standards and although you’d have to respect the fact that they have entered this budding stayer, would prefer to see him prove himself this grade before suggesting he will.
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10. SAVANNAH MOON – J Berriman (10) 54kgs
She got within a length of recording her fifth career win when second to Divan in a BM 70 (2000m) at Racing.com a fortnight ago. The Savabeel mare will not find this event any easier than her last, or several previous runs, especially when having to come from a likely rearward position after drawing wide. She would surprise most if successful.
11. THUNDER SET – (3) 54kgs
Made it three wins from his past four starts with a dominant all-the-way win at Cessnock in a BM 60 (2125m) two runs back, winning by six lengths, before failing on the softer surface when coming to town for a BM 72 at Warwick Farm (2400m) and finishing second-to-last of seven behind He’s Dreamin. Will go forward but likely to be under pressure a long way out from home against some of these.
RACE OVERVIEW –
Thunder Set, Wexford Tavern, Leebaz and Araldo Junior push forward as they sort themselves out. The Offer carried bigger weights against stronger company his last company and should cover the 5kgs he has to give most here. Ideally it’ll be a soft track, or at least with some cushion in it, but that’s only looking for excuses. Kirramosa’s first three runs back from a break were fantastic and she’s finds herself in a very winnable race – right distance, light weigh, limited depth, good speed – she’ll have no excuses you’d think for not running well. Maygrove has been honest and will be so again with Kareeming also getting the right kind of run behind the speed, to be able to pinch a place.
1. THE OFFER