Trainer Tony McEvoy is hopeful that tough stayer Pelicano can atone for his narrow defeat in last year’s race and win the Listed 2013 Ballarat Cup (2200m) on Sunday.
Pelicano went into the 2012 edition of the Ballarat Cup as one of the best backed runners in the field and looked as though he had the race won but was nosed out by Jarrod McLean-trained King Diamond, who gave jockey Brad Rawiller is third straight win in the race.
The Court Of Jewels gelding has performed well during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and McEvoy said that the five-year-old is heading into the Ballarat Cup in much better condition than he was twelve months ago.
“He had no luck in it last year and no doubt should have won,” McEvoy told AAP.
“He’s probably in better form this year.”
Pelicano is no stranger to country cups and he won the Listed Murray Bridge Gold Cup (1600m) on October 16 after performing fairly against a number of well-credentialed horses in the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m), Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m), Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) and Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m).
McEvoy said that he has been happy with Pelicano’s campaign but revealed a win in the Ballarat Cup would cap off what has been a fairly successful 2013 Spring Racing Carnival for the leading trainer.
“They are cracking races to win and this would be the real icing on the cake if we could win this one,” McEvoy said.
The Ballarat Cup field will not be released until tomorrow but Pelicano is expected to share top-weight status with Darren Weir-trained Hurdy Gurdy Man; with both horses allocated 60kg by Racing Victoria Handicappers.
Hurdy Gurdy Man won the Group 3 Hobart Cup (2400m) in impressive fashion earlier this year and has been a regular on the provincial cup circuit this preparation; winning the Murota Cup (2050m) and Hamilton Cup (2200m) before finishing an unlucky fifth in the Kyneton Cup (2000m) a fortnight ago.
Other interesting runners that were included in the nominations for the 2013 Ballarat Cup are: David Hayes-trained Whisper Downs, Queensland stayer Rothera, Michael Kent-trained You Think So and Zipping Classic runner-up Epingle.