A Melbourne cameo goes on the line for Best Case when one of the hardluck stories of the Sydney spring carnival lines up at Rosehill.
Seemingly on target for a Group One appearance after a promising return in an unsuitably run race in August, Best Case’s spring was derailed when a virus swept through trainer Anthony Cummings’s Randwick stables.
He was laid low for six weeks, putting an end to a campaign that had the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate as its most ambitious focal points.
The Cummings stable hopes to salvage at least a minor result at Rosehill on Saturday as a forerunner to an end-of-carnival start in the $150,000 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown next month.
“If he wins, Melbourne is an obvious next step and the Eclipse Stakes would seem to be the most suitable race,” Cummings’s son and assistant trainer Edward said.
A placegetter in last season’s South Australian Derby, Best Case will contest the Vincents Chartered Accountants Handicap over 1800m – the Eclipse distance – in which five of the eight acceptors are trained by Chris Waller.
The four-year-old is coming out of a record-breaking 2000-metre race won by Order Of The Sun at Randwick on October 11.
It was a record that had stood for 16 years but one that the winner held for a mere four races before Hampton Court ran superior figures to win the Group One Spring Champion Stakes.
The runner-up to Order Of The Sun, Grand Marshal, has already backed up to win at his next start, ensuring Best Case will be one of the favourites to break through for the first time since a Sydney provincial win in March.
“There was some concern he didn’t run the trip the other day but very few horses meet conditions like he did that day. Looks can be deceiving,” Cummings said.
The Rosehill meeting has attracted only 71 acceptors, continuing a disturbing trend of small race fields in Sydney since the end of the spring carnival.
There are five races with less than 10 runners while the only field coming close to capacity is the Lidoran Group Handicap after 15 sprinters stood their ground at acceptances.