The Victorians have the numbers in tomorrow’s $25,000 Group 2 Pages Hire Sydney Cup over the 720 metres at Wentworth Park with six of the eight finalists, but NSW trainers Michael Cope (Reign Over Me) and Chris O’Brien (Tifi) are ready to defy the odds and fly the flag high for the home State.
Leading Victorian trainers Graeme Bate and Robert Britton have six between them with Bate’s Amity Bale a clear favourite ahead of Reign Over Me a clear second favourite. Jarvis Bale (Bate) and Tifi are on the next line, then Melandri (Britton).
Reign Over Me pulled up very well after his heat win. Cope said “it was only his fourth start over the 720 and he surprised me how well he pulled up.
“He handles the 520 really well – he’s trialed solo at Wenty in 29.60 but he needs time to balance up in a race. He is now developing into a very nice stayer with the recent experience”.
“I don’t normally trial him during the week in between race starts but before the heats I gave him a hit out over the 400 at Richmond and he went close to the track record,” he said.
Cope said the favourite is obviously the one to beat, adding “I think Reign Over Me has to be in front of Amity Bale early and then I can beat him.”
Chris O’Brien said Tifi is capable of leading and is much fitter now, pointing out that last week’s heat run was first time Tifi has had consecutive race starts over the 720 metres at the track.
“She’s a lot stronger and I think she can pull out a couple of extra lengths, so if she leads I think she can hold on and win,” O’ Brien said.
Graeme Bate will be absent on Saturday, celebrating his grandson’s birthday, “but my team’s in the very capable hands of my foreman Rob Camilleri,” he said.
“Amity Bale won her heat in smart time and is obviously my best with Jarvis Bale next,” Bate said.
But he has great respect for Reign Over Me, commenting “Reign Over Me is a genuine chance, with very little between the times we ran in the heats.” (Amity Bale 42.19 and Reign Over Me 42.21).
Bate said Amity Bale is much better drawn in close, adding “last week she drew the outside but she is much better drawn this week.”