The 2015 Winter Cup odds of Bonfire have shortened in the past 24 hours and the imported stayer could start the Listed event as favourite at Rosehill Gardens tomorrow.
Bonfire stamped himself as a horse to watch when he made his Australian racing debut in the Dooleys Handicap (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 16 and he was placed in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1800m) at the same venue on August 30 and the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 20 before he was sent to the spelling paddock after finishing seventh in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 11.
The Manduro gelding made his long awaited return to racing with a fourth place finish in the Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) on June 7 and Gai Waterhouse’s stable foremen Mark Newnham is confident that the six-year-old has taken plenty of benefit out of his first-up run.
“Gai just wasn’t quite happy with his condition so she turned him out again,” Newnham told AAP about Bonfire’s autumn campaign.
“Sometimes these European horses take a preparation or two before they really hit their straps and fully acclimatise, but he looks really well now and seems to have adjusted well.
“It was a bit short and sharp for him in the Hawkesbury Cup but he’ll acquit himself well on Saturday.
“He ran well in some nice races in the spring last year and now it’s just a matter of getting him to win.”
While there has been plenty of money for Bonfire in the Winter Cup and he is into $2.80, Chris Waller-trained Danchai remains a narrow favourite at a quote of $2.40.
Danchai performed well without winning in the first two race starts of his preparation, but he finally claimed his maiden Australian race win with a narrow victory over Banca Mo and Darci Be Good in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) on June 13.
Dream Folk is currently on the third line of Winter Cup betting markets and he has remained steady at a quote of $6.50 since the Winter Cup field was released earlier in the week.
The Gregory Hickman-trained Dream Folk will be making his black-type racing debut in the Winter Cup and he is chasing his first metropolitan victory since October of 2013.
The only other horse that is available at single figure 2015 Winter Cup odds is Our Voodoo Prince, who has the chance to return to winning form after finishing third in the McKell Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick on May 23 and the Stayers Cup (3200m) at the same venue on June 6.
Kapour ($12) has remained steady at his opening quote, while Gosh ($19 out to $21) have both been on the drift and Rapa Nui ($101 out to $126) have both been on the drift.