Gai Waterhouse included Ecuador, Frespanol and Pheidon in the 2015 Hawkesbury Gold Cup field and the leading Sydney trainer believes that Ecuador is the pick of her trio in the Group 3 event at Hawkesbury tomorrow.
Ecuador spent a year away from racing following his fourth place finish behind Messene in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 22, but he returned to racing with a close second behind Rugged Cross in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 18.
Waterhouse believes that Ecuador has taken plenty of benefit out of his first-up run and she told Racing Ahead this morning that she was very happy with the High Chaparral gelding heading into the Hawkesbury Gold Cup.
“Of the three of them Ecuador is the horse that I am most pleased with,” Waterhouse said.
“His first-up run was enormous and he has done particularly well since then.”
Pheidon is set to return to the races in the Hawkesbury Gold Cup and he has been given three barrier trials since he finished at the tail of the field in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot on December 6.
Waterhouse said that she is pleased with Pheidon ahead of the Hawkesbury Gold Cup, but she believes that the four-year-old will take plenty of benefit out of his first-up run and will be a better winning chance as he gets further into his winter preparation.
“Pheidon is going very well and he is a good each-way chance,” Waterhouse said.
Frespanol returned to the races with a third place finish behind Medcaut and Laohu in The Races.com.au Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 28 and he hit the line strongly when he finally found clear running in the Battle Of The Dardanelles Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick last Saturday.
Waterhouse said that she is happy with the form of Frespanol this preparation, but she does not believe the Choisir gelding will be suited by the likely wet track at Hawkesbury and she has scratched him from the Group 3 event.
Ecuador is currently available at 2015 Hawkesbury Gold Cup odds of $6.50 with Ladbrokes and is a narrow favourite from Godolphin galloper Medcaut ($7), Doncaster Prelude runner-up Malice ($7.50) and wet-track specialist Rugged Cross ($7.50), the talented San Diego ($9) and John Singleton-owned Strawberry Boy ($10).