The 2015 Ballarat Cup field has been released and leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller will have the two top weights in the form of Junoob and Index Linked.
Junoob will carry 60 kilograms in the Ballarat Cup and he will have the opportunity to return to winning form for the first time since he took out the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) last year – a race he was later stripped of after producing a positive swab.
The imported stayer started his 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a flat effort in the Canterbury Hurlstone RSL Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on August 15 and he produced an improved performance in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 5, but he was never able to get into the race in both the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) on September 19 and the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) on October 3.
Junoob returned to a semblance of his best form in the Listed City Tattersalls Club Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 17, but he produced one of the worst performances of his career to date when he beat home just a single runner in the Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.
Index Linked will take better form into the Ballarat Cup and he will have the first chance at an appropriate staying trip this preparation.
The Dansili gelding returned to the races with a credible fifth in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on September 19 and he was placed in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) on October 11 before he never had a chance in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
Another trainer that will have multiple runners in the 2015 Ballarat Cup field is Darren Weir, who has included both Tooleybuc Kid and Akzar in the acceptances.
Akzar has not recorded a race win since he took out the Listed Warrnambool Cup (2350m) in May of last year, but he has improved every time he has been seen at the races this preparation and he was only narrowly denied in the Kyneton Cup on November 4.
Tooleybuc Kid has performed fairly without winning this preparation, but he would likely need to improve on his performance in the Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) to be a realistic winning chance.
The only last start winner that has been included in the Ballarat Cup field is Matthew Smith-trained Zayam, while last years winner Mujadale has been given the chance to defend his Ballarat Cup title.
The 2015 Ballarat Cup field is rounded out by Prince Cheri (barrier 13), Digitalism (barrier 12), Crafty Cruiser (barrier four), Tanby (barrier 17), Maygrove (barrier nine), Pondarosa Miss (barrier three), Sonntag (barrier 16), Sysmo (barrier 18), Don Doremo (barrier eight), Lord Durante (barrier 11), Ungrateful Ellen (barrier seven) and Wales (barrier 14).