Lindsay Park’s head trainer David Hayes is relying the Winx form line in assessing the chances of Ventura Storm in the Group 1 $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Ventura Storm chased home Winx when six and a half lengths second in the Group 1 $500,000 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington during the 2017 Melbourne Spring Carnival and Hayes can see that as a good pointer heading into Saturday’s weight for age contest.
“He did run second to Winx at the track and distance, and is well over the odds,” Hayes said.
Hayes, who trains in partnership with his son Ben Hayes and nephew Tom Dabernig, believes that Ventura Storm is well over the odds of $34 at Ladbrokes.com.au and with the addition of blinkers for the first time, expects the five year to improve several lengths on his first up fourth to Gailo Chop in the Group 2 $200,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on February 24.
“Got blinkers on first time. Deliberately have done that and he has to find a few lengths to turn it around on Gailo Chop but it wouldn’t surprise from gate two to get a gun run,” Hayes said.
Ventura Storm has drawn barrier two in the twelve horse Australian Cup field with Regan Bayliss retaining the mount after riding the gelding in the Peter Young Stakes.
The Lindsay Park Team will also saddle up Harlem (Michael Walker, barrier 4) who is also one of the outsiders of the field at $31.
The Darren Weir trained Gailo Chop is the clear cut $3 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au and as well as winning the Peter Young Stakes was a first up winner at his previous start in the Group 3 $150,000 Ladbrokes TS Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on February 10.
2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin is one of three runners for owner Lloyd Williams and trainer Liam Howley from Macedon Lodge and is on the second line of betting at $5.50.
Almandin has drawn barrier eleven and will be ridden again by Damien Oliver after the pair combined for a first up second to stablemate Homesman in the Listed $120,000 Ladbrokes Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) at Caulfield on February 24.
Macedon Lodge’s other two Australian Cup runners are The Taj Mahal, marked at $7, and Homesman who is listed as an $11 chance.
Michael Dee rides Homesman from barrier three while The Taj Mahal will jump from gate seven with Ben Melham taking the mount.