Greatwood will face the toughest test of his racing career to date in the 2015 Australian Cup, but trainer Gai Waterhouse is confident that he can be more than competitive in the Group 1 event at Flemington on Saturday.
Greatwood started his 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with a slightly flat performance in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on January 31 before he returned to his best to record a tough win in the Listed Parramatta Cup (1900m) to earn himself as place in the 2015 Australian Cup field.
The Manduro gelding will be having his first race start at Group 1 level and will face stiff competition against the likes of Protectionist, Happy Trails and Red Cadeaux in the Australian Cup, but Waterhouse believes that the five-year-old does not have to improve a great deal to figure in the finish of the $1 million race.
“He is a lot stronger than what we had last preparation,” Waterhouse told TVN.
“I thought that it was a terrifically tenacious win the other day, he was beaten two furlongs out, but then he came again and it was really good.
“I think that he will do it on Saturday.
“I programmed to bring him down here and when he won that race I thought that he stamped himself.
“He had a nice form line coming into the autumn and I think that he will be very competitive.”
Waterhouse travelled to Melbourne on Tuesday to watch the trackwork of Greatwood and the leading trainer indicated on Twitter that the imported galloper was her best trackwork performer of the morning and she said that jockey Chad Schofield was also pleased with the effort of the Australian Cup contender.
“I’m over the moon and looking forward to it,” Waterhouse said.
“He is such a nice gelding and he glided over 1400 metres on the dirt and Chad Schofield rode him, who will be riding him on Saturday.
“He was very impressed with him.”
Waterhouse recorded her maiden win in the Australian Cup when she took out the 2014 edition of the race with Fiorente and she has the chance to become the first trainer since Bart Cummings in 1981 to win back-to-back editions of the Australian Cup with different horses.
Greatwood is currently available at 2015 Australian Cup odds of $19 with Ladbrokes, while Protectionist and Happy Trails are locked in a battle for early favouritism at a quote of $5.