Shenzhou Steeds will be given the chance to round off his current preparation on a high in Sunday’s lucrative Ballarat Cup.
Flemington trainer Mike Moroney had been in two minds about giving the five-year-old another start this spring after he was outclassed in four stakes races over the metropolitan carnival.
But Shenzhou Steeds’ last-start third in the Kyneton Cup won by Ballarat rival Streets Away convinced Moroney to give him one more outing.
“He looks bright, he looks well and we’ve just ticked him over,” Moroney told racingvictoria.net.au.
“We went to Kyneton thinking that if he disappointed there we would pull up stumps, but we thought he went well enough to warrant a chance of running in the Ballarat Cup.
“He just got shuffled and he just got held up. He didn’t get the best of luck in running.
“I don’t know whether he would have beaten the winner but it probably cost him running second. ”
Moroney said Shenzhou Steeds, the winner of the Ipswich and Caloundra Cups in the Queensland winter, was well suited at the 2200 metres of the race.
“He’s won at a mile-and-a-half (2400m) but I’ve just got a little doubt whether that’s really his preferred trip,” he said.
Sertorius, winner of his past five starts, is TAB’s early favourite at $3.50 with Shenzhou Steeds a $12 chance.
For the first time the $200,000 Ballarat Cup will be one of two big-money feature races at the meeting.
Complementing it will be the $200,000 Magic Millions Clockwise Classic, run over 1000 metres for two-year-olds.
It will be the first clockwise race staged in Victoria for 60 years and is run under a three-year deal between the Ballarat Turf Club and the Magic Millions thoroughbred auction house.
The race is being staged to try to give youngsters from the southern states a chance to gain experience racing in the direction of the $2 million Magic Millions Classic at the Gold Coast in January.