A chance introduction during another provincial Cup meeting has landed Gai Waterhouse a first Bendigo Cup success.
Waterhouse was at the Geelong Cup meeting last week where she met Bendigo Jockey Club president Brendan Drechsler who enquired whether she would have a runner in the newly elevated Group Three race on Wednesday.
The leading Sydney trainer elected to start her Melbourne Cup hope The Offer in the $300,000 race.
Last year’s Sydney Cup winner is safely in next Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup with 54kg and can be penalised for his Bendigo Cup win.
Racing Victoria handicapper Greg Carpenter will announce a Melbourne Cup penalty, if any, on Thursday while The Offer had his price halved from $81 to $41.
Ridden by Michael Walker, The Offer ($7.50) scored a three-quarter length win over Divan ($7.50) with the favourite Kirramosa ($5.50) a long head away third.
Waterhouse said a jockey for The Offer in the Melbourne Cup was still to be decided with the trainer hoping to have either Excess Knowledge or Bohemian Lily gain a start by winning the Lexus Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
Kerrin McEvoy will have first choice of her runners.
The Offer was high up in Melbourne Cup calculations last year after his Sydney Cup win but failed to make the race after failing in Caulfield Cup.
Walker said it was a win full of merit as he had to carry 59kg and the pressure was applied a long way out.
“Gai said I don’t want you back, I want you to box-seat,” Walker said.
“I was lucky enough to get that position and it was a tough win because they quickened a long way from home.
“Knowing Mrs Waterhouses horses they’re so tough and it might have looked like something was going to get me up the straight but I guarantee if something had of got to me, my horse would have kicked.”