Trainer Chris Attard is hopeful a significant weight advantage will go a long way to giving him his first Northern Cups victory with Bering Sea in the Cairns Cup at Cannon Park on Saturday.
Bering Sea went within a short neck of giving Attard his biggest victory of his short career when the gelding was beaten by Fortification in the Townsville Cup over 2000 metres on August 7.
Bering Sea was a $41 outsider in the Townsville Cup but is a lot shorter in betting at $11 for the Cairns Cup over 2100 metres.
The Ricky Vale-trained Namazu – a Ryan Wiggins mount – is a $4.40 favourite with Fortification on the second in an opening betting race at $7.50.
Attard’s confidence of pulling off a Cairns Cup triumph was boosted at Thursday’s barrier draw when Bering Sea drew the rails.
But what is more significant is the sizeable weight advantage for Bering Sea who remains on the minimum 54kgs while Fortification jumps sharply in weights to 57.5kgs.
“I rate him a big chance and it was only bad luck that beat him in the Townsville Cup,” Attard said.
“He was following the favourite when he copped interference which cost him the race.
“He’s got a big turnaround in the weights in his favour this time and we meet Fortification 3.5kgs better and we’ve got barrier one.
“He’s trained on well and hasn’t missed a beat.”
Bering Sea was bought for $31,000 off former trainer David Vandyke and has had only six starts for Attard with a solitary win at Mackay.
Attard was formerly based in Rockhampton before moving his stable of 15 to Townsville last month.
“I moved to Townsville because the facilities are better and a lot of my owners come from Townsville,” he said.
Attard studied law and accountancy in his younger days in Townsville before the racing bug saw him move to Brisbane, working with Desleigh Forster, Barry Baldwin and the late Kelso Wood.
“I didn’t finish university and took off to Brisbane where I worked with Desleigh, Barry and Kelso,” he said.
Attard rates the Jeffrey Caught-trained Fortification as Bering Sea’s main threat.
Fortification was a formerly trained by Barry and Daniel Guy at the Gold Coast but since heading north has won four times and has placed on another three occasions in only eight starts for Caught.