The lure of racing for Group One prize money under handicap conditions has enticed the connections of Dr Drill to the Ballarat Cup.
Saturday’s Listed Ballarat Cup over 2000m carries a purse of $500,000, an increase of $150,000 on last year’s total prize money.
David Eustace, who trains in partnership with Ciaron Maher, said it was an enticing proposition at the end of a long campaign.
An imported galloper, Dr Drill has been in work since April with Saturday’s race being his 11th run for the campaign.
Dr Drill has won on four occasions, twice in Sydney along with successes at Caulfield and a last-start victory in the Cranbourne Cup on October 13.
Eustace said the gelding does not require a lot of work while Dr Drill’s training was about keeping the mind fresh which includes frequent visits to the beach.
It has proven a winning formula with Eustace saying the gelding is in the right frame of form.
“This race has been the plan since he won the Cranbourne Cup,” Eustace said.
“The $500,000 is a good carrot. It’s Group One prize money and it’s essentially an open handicap.
“He’s had a good preparation and he’s probably due a break after Saturday and then we can look towards the autumn I would say.”
Dr Drill has barrier one and could be joined by stablemate Etana in Saturday’s race.
With 20 acceptors for Saturday’s race, Etana is first emergency .
Etana won the Queensland Oaks lead-up, The Roses at Doomben last May, before finishing last in the Oaks and has failed to show her form in two runs this campaign.
Eustace is expecting an improved run.
“She raced much better at Flemington last time,” he said.
“She’ll strip fitter again on Saturday and if she can sneak into the race she’ll give it a little squeak.”
Lightly raced Harbour Views holds favouritism in opening markets at $3.70, but as second emergency requires two scratchings to gain a start.
Dr Drill is second pick at $4.20 ahead of Fifty Stars at $5.
Market 💰: View the odds for the Ballarat Cup
Trainer Matthew Williams plans to start Harbour Views, who suffered his first defeat at Flemington on November 7, at The Valley on Saturday week over 2040m if he doesn’t gain a run at Ballarat.