If the appearance of a racehorse’s coat is the most outward sign of inner wellbeing, Bonfire is looking good for the $100,000 ATC Winter Cup at Rosehill.
Bonfire will go into the Listed race on Saturday with stable confidence to match the early support which points to the stayer winning his first Australian race at his sixth start for Gai Waterhouse.
The backing suggests he is ready to fulfil his spring promise while erasing the disappointment of an autumn campaign that barely got out of second gear.
“Gai just wasn’t quite happy with his condition so she turned him out again,” Tulloch Lodge spokesman Mark Newnham said.
“Sometimes these European horses take a preparation or two before they really hit their straps and fully acclimatise.
“But he looks really well now and seems to have adjusted well.”
After his first Australian campaign returned placings in the Premier’s Cup at Rosehill and the Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield, Bonfire earned a pass mark from the stable with his first-up Hawkesbury Gold Cup run.
“It was a bit short and sharp for him in the Hawkesbury Cup but he’ll acquit himself well on Saturday,” Newnham said.
“He ran well in some nice races in the spring last year and now it’s just a matter of getting him to win.”
Bonfire has attracted $3.80 to $2.70 support to be a clear-cut second favourite behind Danchai ($2.10).
Danchai is one of three runners for Chris Waller, Sydney’s premier trainer who had the first four horses home in last year’s edition of the 2400m race.
Our Voodoo Prince and Gosh will be Waller’s other hopes but it will be Danchai who appeals as his best chance after a last-start Ipswich Cup win.
Danchai has Hugh Bowman riding, giving the jockey an undeniable chance to take more ground off the pacesetter James McDonald in the Sydney premiership.
In his first meeting back from suspension, Bowman rode a Canterbury winner on Wednesday to cut McDonald’s lead to 5-1/2 wins.