Ballarat Cup winners clash again
The likelihood of a firm track threatens to derail the chances of past winners Sentire and Daka’s Gem in the Ballarat Cup.
Both stayers are noted wet trackers and their hopes are tempered with the mercury to soar as high as 31 degrees on Wednesday.
Sentire won the 2007 Cup and last year just failed to join five other dual Ballarat Cup winners since 1946 when second to Daka’s Gem.
Royal Caliph (1998 and 2000) was the last dual winner of the Cup while others have been Valadero (1976 and 1978), Warri Symbol (1982-83), Royal Symbol (1958-59) and Great Queen (1952-53).
Trainer Robbie Laing said that while drizzle was forecast on Tuesday it may not be enough to take the jar out of the track for Sentire.
"He’s got rotten old joints and we are just hoping that it rains," Laing said. "If it does he will run in the first three."
Sentire’s only two starts at Ballarat have been in the Ballarat Cup and Laing believes that had he not drawn wide last year he would be unbeaten at the track.
"Last year we had to use him up to get across from the gate and he only just got run down after kicking three lengths clear," Laing said.
Last start Sentire finished 14th to Linton Street in the Lavazza A Modo Mio (2800m) at Flemington after finishing a close seventh on a good track in the Moonee Valley Cup (2500m).
He strikes an ageing Ballarat Cup field with 10 of the 18 runners being seven or older.
Ten-year-old Daka’s Gem is the greybeard of the field but he comes into the race in better form than a year ago with a third to Zupacool in the Bendigo Cup (2200m) and second to Bourbonstreetblues in the Kyneton Cup (2000m).
Both races were on good tracks but, like Sentire, he is a superior galloper on rain affected ground and he won last year’s Cup on a heavy track.
Meanwhile Melbourne Cup winning trainer Mark Kavanagh has hopes of closing out the spring carnival on a high with Itstheone in the Ballarat Cup.
The seven-year-old found form with his last start second to stablemate Raffaello in the Melbourne Cup Community Fund Handicap (2000m) at Flemington on November 7 and Kavanagh believes he can go one better on Wednesday.
"He’s trained on well from the other day and I’m happy to be running him," Kavanagh said.
"Raffaello didn’t get the 2400 metres in the Sandown Classic last Saturday but he wasn’t that far behind Zipping (4-1/2 lengths) and that is good form for a race like this."
Itstheone has been competitive around 2000 metres and ran a close sixth to Banana Man in the Mornington Cup (2400m) in February.
By Robert Windmill