Trainer Terry O’Sullivan has one more chance to end a frustrating run of placings for his stable flag bearer Exceptionally in the Listed $200,000 Sportsbet.com.au Ballarat Cup (2200m) at Ballarat on Sunday.
Exceptionally has been placed at five of her six starts this Spring and O’Sullivan will have one more crack at the cherry on officially the last day of the Melbourne Spring Carnival before sending the six year old to the paddock for a short spell with the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick as her main target in the Autumn.
“I’ll have a good look at the Sydney Cup with her in the autumn and they can get some rain at that time of year up there sometimes,” O’Sullivan said.
Exceptionally ran her usual honest race last Saturday at Sportingbet Sandown Park when she was doing her best work at the finish when second to Tanby in the Group 2 $350,000 Deadly Design Zipping Classic (2400m).
That followed a third to Kelinni in the Group 3 $250,000 The Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on November 3 after finishing seventh of seven in the Group 3 $300,000 Centrebet Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong on October 24 which was won by the international stayer Gatewood.
The Geelong Cup seventh was the only time Exceptionally finished out of the place over the Spring Carnival but the back marker was never in the race which was run at a dawdling speed that didn’t suit and then developed into a sprint home.
O’Sullivan was also out of luck with the weather and was unable to find a wet track for the six year old, her preferred surface, all through the Spring.
“We didn’t hit a wet track all Spring with her but she has run well in everything,” O’Sullivan said.
The Stawell trainer is happy with the way that Exceptionally has pulled up after Saturday’s second at weight for age and is confident she can handle one more run this campaign.
“She has pulled up that well I think we’ll go to the Ballarat Cup. I’m going to get the vet to go over her tomorrow but at this stage I can’t see why she wouldn’t run in it,” O’Sullivan said.
“I don’t think running in the Ballarat Cup will hurt her so we’ll go that way.”
Regular rider Dean Yendall was happy with the run of Exceptionally in the Zipping Classic after she put in her characteristic finishing burst.
“She went super, she had a lovely run, I couldn’t be happier with her,” Yendall said.
Tanby’s win in the Zipping Classic was a sentimental victory for owner Lloyd Williams after the race, which was formerly known as the Sandown Classic, was renamed by the Melbourne Racing Club after his grand galloper Zipping who won the weight for age race four times in succession from 2007 to 2010.