Distillation is the 2014 Adelaide Cup tip for trainer Nick Smart, who is hopeful that the tough stayer can become the first horse to complete the Lord Reims Stakes/Adelaide Cup double since Apache King in 2011.
Smart currently has only three gallopers in work at his Morphettville stable, after taking over from his father Bill at the end of last year, but has been delighted with the form of Distillation since he returned to the races in November.
Distillation failed to fire in the first two starts of his preparation, finishing at the tail of the field in both the Paul’s Milk Handicap (1400m) and The Haigh’s Cup Handicap (1950m) at Morphettville, but is yet to produce a bad run since his third place finish in the Schweppes Handicap (1950m) on December 21.
The Half Hennessy gelding finished third behind the talented Val Mondo and Weekend Hussy when stepped up in distance in the Darley Handicap (2600m) on January 4 and was only narrowly denied victory by Val Mondo in the Projection Graphics Handicap (2500m) on February 1.
Distillation finished third when dropped back in trip for the Darley Handicap (2400m) on February 15 before recording his first race win in over a year in the Group 3 Lord Reims Stakes (2600m) at Morphettville on March 1; with the six-year-old showing plenty of courage to hold off the fast-finishing Base in the final stages of the race.
Despite his impressive Lord Reims Stakes performance, Distillation is currently available at 2014 Adelaide Cup odds of $31, but Smart told News Limited that he is confident his star galloper is a w winning chance in the Group 2 event this afternoon.
“I think everyone is underrating that win the other day, he was ridden upside down and he’s a much better horse with cover,” Smart said.
“He runs the two miles and he’s going much better than he was last year.
“I’d be disappointed if he didn’t run in the first three.
“I think we’re in it with a big chance and I’m really excited.”
Roy Higgins Quality winner Cooldini ($3.10) is a popular Adelaide Cup tip with punters and is currently a narrow favourite in the betting market at Ladbrokes Australia from imported stayer Big Memory ($3.30), Bagot Handicap winner Outback Joe ($7.00, David Hayes-trained Motivado ($13), 2012 winner Rialya ($15) and evergreen stayer Macedonian ($17).