Stand-in rider James McDonald gave the Waterhouse stable a glowing report about Melbourne Cup favourite The Offer after he galloped with stablemate Carlton House in between races at Rosehill last Saturday.
The Irish import had the better of Her Majesty The Queen’s horse Carlton House at the end of their 1200m gallop, stopping the clock at 34.63 seconds for the final 600m.
Gai Waterhouse’s stable jockey Tommy Berry was due to ride The Offer in the gallop but was held up in the stewards’ room following a protest against his mount Liberation in the first race of the day, the TAB Early Quaddie Plate (1300m).
Berry was on the wrong end of the protest decision with Liberation being relegated to second place behind Press Report with the steward’s upholding jockey Winona Costin’s objection for interference at the 100m mark.
McDonald, who collected his first Sydney jockey’s premiership last week for the 2013-2014 season, reported that The Offer felt strong and had a good turn of foot at the end of the hit out.
“He feels like a very good horse,” McDonald told Racenet.
“He travels so comfortably but quickens when you need him to. Tommy’s got a very nice horse.”
The Offer is currently the $13 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au for the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 4 and is in line to give Waterhouse back to back wins in the ‘race that stops the nation’ after taking out last year’s version with English import Fiorente.
But stable foreman Mark Newnham said that The Offer wouldn’t follow the same path as Fiorente did in his lead up to last year’s win.
Fiorente kicked off his 2013 Spring in the Group 1 $350,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in late August while The Offer is likely to kick off his Spring Carnival campaign in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 6.
“They’re different horses. The Offer could resume in the Dato Tan Chin Nam but Gai will make a decision over the next few weeks on that,” Newnham said.
The Offer was installed the early favourite for the Melbourne Cup following an outstanding Sydney Autumn Carnival which saw the import work his way up through the ranks to claim the Group 1 $1m Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on the second day of ‘The Championships’.
At his two previous starts The Offer won the Group 3 Ambassador Travel N E Manion Cup (2400m) at Rosehill on March 29 and the Group 2 $300,000 Schweppes Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) at Randwick on April 12.
Carlton House is also one of Waterhouse’s big Spring Carnival hopes and heads the early market order for the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 at $9, just ahead of Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Falls and multiple Group 1 winning Kiwi mare Silent Achiever, both at $11.
The Street Cry seven year old also produced his best form in the Autumn since arriving in Australia with a nose second to Silent Achiever in the Group 1 $500,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 22 and a third to It’s A Dundeel in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 19.