Last Saturday’s Ascot Group 3 winner Watermans Bay is a real chance to return to Melbourne for the Autumn Carnival to contest the Group 1 $1m Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
Watermans Bay spent a short stint with Flemington trainer Mark Kavanagh during the Melbourne Spring Carnival but returned home to Perth without a winning cheque.
Ascot trainer Dan Morton took over the training of the six year old gelding and he quickly returned to form with a second for Steven Arnold to Magnifisio in the Group 1 $750,000 Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on November 22.
Then last weekend with Tommy Berry on board Watermans Bay reversed the Winterbottom Stakes result with a win in the Group 3 $200,000 Ascend Sales Trophies-A.J. Scahill Stakes (1400m) at Ascot.
“Dan has mentioned on radio about the Newmarket Handicap as a possibility. Dan will sit down and look at a program for him,” Breeder-owner John Molloy told The West Australian.
While under the care of Kavanagh, Watermans Bay was hampered by bad allies and bad luck and he kicked off his Melbourne Spring Carnival campaign with a seventh in the Listed $120,000 BECK Probuild Testa Rossa Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.
That was followed by a sixth in the Listed $120,000 italktravel Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield and a sixth in the Listed $150,000 MSS Security Sprint (1200m) at Flemington.
“All of his runs in Melbourne were reasonable,” Molloy said.
“He kept drawing wide gates and when he went down the straight at Flemington he was on the wrong side.
“He is looking fantastic, having filled out nicely. I honestly believe he has benefited from racing in Melbourne.
“He is now more aggressive and powerful. Dan has ridden the horse and has a real feel for him.
“He told me a few days after the horse arrived at his stable he felt like a 1600m horse. In the past it has been looked upon as 1300m being his maximum distance.”
Watermans Bay has won nine races from thirty-three starts and has earned almost $870,000 in prizemoney.