Chace The Great tipped for Gold Cup
CHACE THE GREAT's climb to Grade One could not have come at a better time for the four-year-old gelding, coinciding with today's feature, the 1400-metre Gold Cup.
Traditionally one of the epic races on the local calendar, attracting the best of Grade One, local and imported horses, only three runners in this afternoon's 10-horse line-up have ever won at the top class. Missing from the field are last year's winner, BUZZ NIGHTMARE and CAMPESINO, among others.
Horse of the Year SEEKING MY DREAM, who placed fifth last year, the only genuine Grade One horse in this year's event, returns with topweight 57.0 kilos, woefully out of form. However, SEEKING MY DREAM's presence, as much as the others' absence, is to CHACE THE GREAT's advantage as he seeks a second consecutive victory in Grade One and a hat-trick of wins.
Three pounds more
SEEKING MY DREAM, having to carry topweight, has pushed CHACE THE GREAT down the scale to 53.5 kilos, made even lighter by apprentice Anthony Thomas' two-kilo claim, which has him carrying 51.5, three pounds more than the four-year-old gelding shouldered when beating CAMPESINO by four lengths in the 1200-metre None Such Trophy on September 9.
CHACE THE GREAT's main rivals are five-year-old ANOTHER BULLET and United States-bred four-year-old filly CHOO CHOO BLUE, who he both beat in the Grade Two Seek Trophy, 1300 metres, on August 26. CHACE THE GREAT won by a length and a quarter in a gate-to-wire run, carrying 54.0 kilos with Wesley Henry.
CHOO CHOO BLUE finished second with 53.0 kilos and returns at the same handicaps with CHACE THE GREAT for the Gold Cup. ANOTHER BULLET, however, who was level at 54.0 with CHACE THE GREAT when finishing fifth in the Seek Trophy, returns with 50.0, including apprentice Odeen Edwards' two-kilo claim.
With the weight still in his favour, CHACE THE GREAT's main weapon has been his tactical speed, especially since trainer Dwight Chen fixed his drifting problems with a one-cup blinker in which he has won three of his last five starts.
He relishes running fresh and reports off a one-month rest during which time both CHOO CHOO BLUE and ANOTHER BULLET ran tough races. ANOTHER BULLET, in particular, lost races to CHOO CHOO BLUE and SHE'S A MANEATER in the space of 10 days, a total of 14 hard furlongs, the last being a week ago.
Thomas is riding in excellent form and did pretty well with CHACE THE GREAT in the None Such. Having got a feel of the gelding's pace at 1200 metres, he should have a pretty good idea of how to rate him for another furlong. CHOO CHOO BLUE, though, will be a dangerous closer if speedy SIR BUDGET proves too pesky on the lead.