Tall Ship stamped himself as a stayer to watch with a dominant victory in the 2015 Warrnambool Cup this afternoon.
Tall Ship went into the Warrnambool Cup as a clear favourite after he recorded back-to-back victories in the Stawell Cup (2000m) on April 5 and the Terang Cup (2150m) on April 19, but there were question marks over his ability to get through the wet Warrnambool Cup track that was rated a heavy nine.
Jockey Brad Rawiller was happy to allow Tall Ship to settle wide in the early stages of the Warrnambool Cup and he travelled into the race nicely, while Shoreham, Lucciola and Tuscan Fire all overraced.
Tall Ship was brought to the outside of the field when he entered the straight and the Sea The Stars gelding responded extremely well when asked for an extra effort to quickly pull away from his rivals and score a fourth straight victory this preparation.
Tall’s Ship victory gave trainer Darren Weir a second straight triumph in the Warrnambool Cup, but the typically modest trainer was quick to pay credit to the ride of Brad Rawiller and the tactical guidance of noted track walker Peter Ellis.
“It has been great,” Weir said of Tall’s Ship progress this preparation.
“He has had a great campaign and I have been under no pressure from the owners, they have allowed me to place him in the races that best suit him and try to bring them on.
“I just have to give Pete Ellis a big thanks because he and Brad went out to walk the track and they had a plan on where to be.
“When they go out to do that and Brad executes it like that than it is great to watch.
“He had form good form when he was bought and he came to us as a horse with good potential.”
Akzar was sent to Queensland for a Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival campaign after he won the Warrnambool Cup last year and he finished a credible fourth in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m), but Weir revealed that he was unlikely to follow a similar path with Tal Ship.
Weir said that Tall Ship will likely be sent to the spelling paddock before returning for a 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but the cagey trainer refuse to commit the progressive stayer to a Caulfield Cup or Melbourne Cup campaign.
“I will have to talk to the owners, but I think that he has done enough now,” Weir said.
“I will give him a little break and hopefully we can bring him back for the spring.
“He looks like he will stick and I guess we will head to the better staying races and see where we end up.
“He has a fair way to go to do that, but he is a lightly raced horse that can stick, so who knows.”
Arch Fire was scratched from the Galleywood Hurdle in order to run in the Warrnambool Cup and that decision paid dividends when he hit the line strongly to finish second, while Lucciola toughed it out to the line to finish third.