The Lee and Anthony Freedman trained Nozomi and Cool Chap are fighting for favouritism for the Listed $300,000 Ballarat Cup (2200m) at Ballarat on Saturday.
Cool Chap has always been hovering near the top of the market order for the Ballarat Cup and is currently at $7.50 with Ladbrokes.com.au while market mover Nozomi has firmed from $12 to be on the second line of betting at $8.
Cool Chap will have no problem running out a strong 2200m after scoring a comfortable win over 2800m in the Listed $200,000 VRC St Leger (2800m) at Flemington on Anzac Day.
The High Chaparral four year old has had a solid grounding in the lead up to Saturday’s race with four runs this campaign, his latest being a sixth to Ballarat Cup top weight Turnitround in the Group 3 $150,000 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown last Saturday.
Cool Chap kicked off his Spring Carnival campaign with an uninspiring ninth in a 1440m BenchMark 84 Handicap at Caulfield on October but then showed vast improvement with the step up in distance to 1600m when second in the Listed $150,000 Ladbrokes Sale Cup at Sale on October 23.
Cool Chap then tried to lead all of the way before finishing second to The Chairman in an 1800m BenchMark 90 Handicap at Flemington on Crown Oaks Day at his last run before heading to Sandown.
Nozomi won’t have any trouble with the journey either after winning over the Ballarat Cup distance as a three year old when he took out the 2014 Listed $120,000 Emsley Lodge Racing Geelong Classic (2200m) at Geelong but the Street Cry five year old has had mixed form over the Spring with one win and a placing from five outings.
Nozomi finished sixth at both his first two runs this preparation in the Listed $120,000 The Sofitel (1400m) at Flemington on September 10 and in a 1700m Handicap at Caulfield on September 24.
He then found the winner’s stall with a tough on pace performance in taking out an 1800m BenchMark 80 Handicap at Caulfield on October 1 before finishing fourth over 2040m in an Open Handicap at Moonee Valley on October 1.
Nozomi will appreciate a big drop in weight to 54kg after carrying 59.5kg last start when second in a 2000m BenchMark 90 Handicap at Flemington on the last day of the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Cool Chap has drawn the better of the two Freedman stayers at barrier three with Daniel Stackhouse to ride while Nozomi has drawn around the middle of the pack at ten with Stephen Baster taking over from James McDonald.
Also in contention in the wide open betting race is the Chris Waller trained Lady Le Fay and Darren Weir’s Lidari at $8.50.
Craig Newitt has a big job ahead with Lady Le Fay having to jump from the outside barrier in the sixteen horse Ballarat Cup field while John Allen’s job will be slightly easier with Lidari likely to come out of gate twelve if all the emergencies fail to gain a start.