The 2015 Bendigo Cup field has been released and Melbourne Cup hopeful The Offer is set to carry the top weight of 59 kilograms in the Group 3 event that will be held at Bendigo on Wednesday.
The Offer was the early favourite for the 2014 Melbourne Cup following his dominant win in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m), but he failed to make it to the race after he suffered an injury when 11th in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 18.
Trainer Gai Waterhouse gave The Offer just one race start during the autumn, but he started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a very tough win in the Listed Rowley Mile (1600m) at Hawkesbury on August 20.
The Offer produced another credible performance in the Listed Wyong Gold Cup (2080m) on September 4 and he did not have a great deal of luck in the Group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) before he finished fourth behind Ruling Dynasty in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 17.
The Montjeu gelding currently sits in 15th position in the 2015 Melbourne Cup order of entry and Waterhouse plans to give him his opportunity to run in ‘the race that stops a nation’ no matter how he performs in the Bendigo Cup.
Leebaz is not in Melbourne Cup contention, but Team Hawkes have elected to give him a maiden opportunity over 2400 metres in the Bendigo Cup and he will carry the second top weight.
The Zabeel gelding was unable to factor in the finish of both the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), but he produced a much improved performance in the Group 3 Coongy Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last weekend.
One of the most interesting runners in the 2015 Bendigo Cup field is Lloyd Williams-owned Divan, who is set to have just his sixth race start in the $300,000 event.
Divan missed over a year of racing after he failed to fire in the Listed Living Legends Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 13 and he returned to racing with an upset loss at Morphettville on September 12, but he returned to winning form at Pakenham on October 15.
Divan will be joined in the Bendigo Cup field by stablemate Wexford Town, who has mixed form since he made his Australian racing debut in May.
Wexford Town claimed his maiden Australian racing win in the Greg Oates Memorial Handicap (2500m) ay Morphettville on September 19, but he tired late to finish eighth behind Let’s Make Adeal in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2520m) at Flemington on October 4.
The 2015 Bendigo Cup field is rounded out by 2013 Crown Oaks winner Kirramosa (barrier two), promising Kiwi stayer Maygrove (barrier four), Darren Weir-trained Tooleybuc Kid (barrier eight), the consistent Kareeming (barrier five), last start winner Araldo Junior (barrier six), Rod Symons-trained Savannah Moon (barrier ten) and provincial stayer Thunder Set (barrier three).
You can score the best Bendigo Cup odds for every single runner with Ladbrokes, who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on the Bendigo Cup this Wednesday.