Trainer Gai Waterhouse and jockey Damien Oliver continued their successful Spring Carnival association when the pair combined with five year old import The Offer to take out the Listed $200,000 Sportsbet.com.au Ballarat Cup (2200m) at Ballarat on Sunday.
The Ballarat Cup win comes on the back of a spectacular Melbourne Spring Carnival for Waterhouse and Oliver who combined to the win the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5 with the former English stayer Fiorente.
Part owner John Bongiorno was also ecstatic to be a part apart of both Cup wins and is enjoying his association with Waterhouse.
“It’s a dream come true to win the Melbourne Cup but to win a race like the Ballarat Cup, to win any race anywhere in Australia is an amazing privilege,” Bongiorno told AAP.
“It’s been an amazing few weeks. I seriously can’t believe it.”
“I have had a great association with Gai going back a few years now and maybe The Offer can come back for the Melbourne Cup next year.”
Bongiorno would like to be back in the Melbourne Cup limelight again next year with The Offer after getting a taste of success this year with Fiorente.
The Offer started his career in Ireland and was a winner of two races before ending up at Tulloch Lodge and yesterday’s win was the Montjeu five year old’s first win for Waterhouse.
“Seriously, it is a dream come true. I can’t believe it,” Bongiorno said.
“All I can say to Gai, Damien Oliver, all of the team behind Gai and Robbie Waterhouse for picking out the horses, a big thank you.
“It has just been extraordinary. How great is Gai? How great is Damien Oliver?”
The Offer ($4 favourite) was right at home on the heavy Ballarat track and after settling worse than midfield, Oliver was able to bring the gelding with a late rush to score a three and a quarter lengths win running away from Pelicano ($9.50) and Hurdy Gurdy Man ($16).
“Gai’s brought this horse down at the right time,” Oliver told TVN.
“He’s certainly on the way up when some horses might be coming to the end of their tether.
“He’s a quality horse and really enjoyed the soft track. Coming into the straight he was going OK but when I put the foot down he really extended and I think he can win a very good race on soft ground.
“Gai wanted me a little bit closer but it all worked out in the end.”
Waterhouse and Oliver had no luck at Ascot on Saturday with $4 second favourite Vitello finishing eleventh to Ihtsahymn in the Group 2 $400,000 Sky Racing-W.A. Guineas (1600m).