Imported stayer Junoob returned to his best form to record an impressive win in the 2015 Ballarat Cup this afternoon.
Junoob was settled just behind the speed in the early stages of the race and received a lovely run on the rail, while Sonntag was ridden aggressively to take up the running and make sure that the race was run at a genuine tempo.
Sonntag and Sysmo looked like they were going to fight out the finish of the Ballarat Cup at the 200 metre mark and Sonntag kicked clear with 150 metres left to run, but Junoob finished over the top of them late to claim his first victory for over 12 months.
Jockey Brad Rawiller gave Junoob the perfect run in transit and the gifted hoop said that he was thrilled to have won the Ballarat Cup for the fourth time.
“I had to ride pretty hard,” Rawiller said.
“He was just so out of character last time out and he is with a great trainer in Chris Waller.
“I don’t really do a lot of riding for him and I got the ride on this horse as late as I possibly could after acceptances.
“It is just fantastic.
“The Ballarat Cup is obviously close to my heart with Darren Weir and the stable and the wife and the two kids are here.
“It really tops off the spring carnival.”
Junoob finished a close second behind Ruling Dynasty in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 17, but he produced one of the worst performances of his career to date when he beat home just a single runner in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on October 31.
Chris Waller stable representative Eddie Fanning said that the stable were unable to explain Junoob’s poor performance in the Lexus Stakes, but he said that he was confident that veteran stayer would be able to bounce back in the Ballarat Cup.
“That was a great performance,” Fanning said.
“It was a great ride by Brad, he did exactly what he was told.
“He was a little further back than what we wanted, but he got him on the inside and got him going.
“Matty rides him every day in his work and he was saying that he has been working great and he couldn’t understand his last run.
“The previous run he finished second and finished ahead of The Offer and The Offer has shown that form is pretty good.
“He has been a great servant and he does well.”
Wales produced the best performance of his career to fly home late for second, while Sonntag could not have been braver to finish third in a return to form.