Oneofthe year’s best Group Two races so far features on a great card at Warrnambool this Wednesday evening when the final of the 2014 Warrnambool Cup takes place.
With a stellar octet of combatants assembled, one could easily be excused for thinking it was a Group One event and the race itself is sure to live up to such a mantle.
$43,750 awaits the connections of the first dog to complete the 450 metre journey with super star Black Magic Opal starting a short priced favourite. The field also includes last year’s winner Ronan Izmir and Group One winner Ollie Bale.
Here is a look at the runners in detail with the thoughts from their trainers;
Comments: Jason Thompson (Trainer) – “The box has bought him right into the race. He is coming back from a torn back muscle and last week was his fourth run back and, in my opinion, that was his best run since he has been back. He is drawn to be right in this.”
Comments: Jason Thompson (Trainer) – “He is well drawn too, obviously he will not be up in the firing line early but he should be in a good position as they go to that first turn and that should give him an opportunity to do something in the race.”
Comments: Tom Dailly (Co-Trainer) – “He will need a bit of luck to win, it is a very hard race, there is not a weak dog amongst them, it is extremely hard. He is going to find it difficult tomorrow because there is a hell of a lot of pace in the race so it will be very hard to lead which is what he likes to do. You never know but Black Magic Opal and Ronan Izmir have all the pace and it will be hard to get near them, but you never know.”
Comments: ARG opinion is – A precocious 19-month-old who has risen to the top grade in a flash. May not have the speed to keep up with the big guns early which will make his task hard from the awkward draw.
Comments: Jason Thompson (Trainer) – “I’m actually happy with the draw. You can get what you think is a good box sometimes and the dogs drawn around you make it a rotten box, but for this race I think the dogs drawn around him make box five a good box. I like him drawn the middle to wide, obviously he has to get away cleanly but I think the draw will allow him to do that. He is clearly the one to beat, it is just a matter of him doing what we know he can do.”
Comments: Jamie Ennis (Co-Trainer) – “Being drawn of the track it is going to be hard. It is a quality cup and you can’t afford anything to go wrong and it is going to be very hard work from the wide draw. His only real hope would be if Black Magic Opal does a bit of damage as he charges across the field but to be honest I think he will clear the field pretty easy. To try and make a case for my bloke, all I can say is that he is a terrific chaser and he always puts in 100% and he somehow always manages to put himself into the race at some stage. I know if it is a tight bustle to that first corner then he will put himself there, it is just hard when you are drawn so wide, it is hard to get across. Obviously you are hopeful that your dog can win and hopeful that he gets his chance but if you are a punter you’d look at the race and be putting Black Magic Opal to win in trifectas and three or four others for the placings, my bloke would be one of those. He chases too good and puts himself in the race to not be a place chance. I just can’t wait to get him back over 500 metres, anything we earn in this race is a bonus.”
Comments: Nicole McRae (Trainer) – “It is a very hard field and he is probably drawn on the worn side of the track to where he wants to be, I think he may end up with a little bit too much traffic, there is too much pace in there. If he begins like last week and works down to the fence he is going to have plenty in front of him and will probably struggle but at least he is there I suppose. I was thinking while driving home after the heat that it is such a hard race that I just hope he draws seven or eight and gets around safely. It is just a really tricky race, I think the Warragul Cup that he won was also a very good field but I think luck will play a bigger part in this one.”
Comments: ARG opinion is – Honest type who loves the track and ran a solid race last week. May lack the genuine class of a few of the others in this race and is likely to need a ton of luck from the outside draw to be winning this race.
Comments: Bendigo Cup finalist who rarely misses a place. Has a knack of putting himself in the race but is likely to need luck in this field to be a winning hope.
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Black Magic Opal (5) is drawn to get a bit of room early. If he begins as well as he can, he could make the race his own in the first hundred metres and make it a case of “eyes on the clock”.
Last year’s winner Ronan Izmir (1) has an impeccable record from the coveted rails alley. He has won a staggering eight from nine out of the box and has to be considered a huge chance on the credence of that.
Ollie Bale (3) has proven he is a class act but is likely to need luck in this race. If he is afforded opportunities he will take them.
Deadly Vane (6) and Walk Hard (7) are two dogs that, if they get some luck in the run, will be unleashing withering bursts down the home straight, but they will need more than their share of good fortune given their draws.