Tough stayer High Church provided Victoria’s leading trainer Darren Weir with his fifth win in the Listed $200,000 Sungold Milk Warrnambool Cup (2350m) at Warrnambool today.
Winning rider Damian Lane settled High Church near the tail of the field before circling the field to bring the $2.40 favourite down the outside fence in the straight to record the easiest of wins by six lengths.
Top weight and second favourite Observational ($5.50) followed High Church into the straight but was no match for the Weir trained stayer with Unfurl ($10) filling third spot.
High Church was Weir’s fourth consecutive Warrnambool Cup win after collecting the winning trophy with Akzar (2014), Tall Ship (2015) and Master Of Arts last year.
Weir collected his first Warrnambool Cup silverware back in 2005 with True Courser.
“The horses have to be in the right order and the crew down here at the Bool have done a great job,” Weir said.
“We targeted this race a while ago and got him there in great shape.”
Weir admitted that he left the race tactics up to Lane and his track work rider Darren Murphy after the pair devised a plan after walking the track prior to the race.
“A big thanks to Darren Murphy our track work rider. He and Damian (Lane) went out and walked the track before the Grand Annual,” Weir said.
“They had a plan what they were going to do. I had nothing to do with the tactics, I just left it to them and they got it right.”
High Church was facing a heavy track for the first time in the Warrnambool Cup but Weir was confident the six year old would have no trouble getting through the wet ground.
“His action would suggest that he would appreciate a bit of give in the ground for sure,” Weir said.
“When you work him on firm tracks he just doesn’t quite work as good as he does on a track with a bit of cut in it.”
“I thought the ground would have been ideal. Just got into a nice rhythm out the back and at the 600m when he was starting to track out you knew he was going to get to the right part of the track and was going to be somewhere in the finish anyway.”
Weir will now give some thought to sending High Church to Queensland for the Winter Carnival to chase some of the Cup races on offer like the Listed $175,000 Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast on July 1.
“Those good staying races over the Brisbane Carnival, not obviously the top end, like a Caloundra Cup and those sort of races would be nice races to set him for.”
High Church was Weir’s fourteenth winner over the three day Warrnambool Cup Carnival.