GLENN Douglas has made several attempts to win his hometown cup without success, but is hopeful he just might have the horse to break his PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup drought at Lord’s Raceway on Saturday.
Douglas is targeting the $70,000 Group 3 feature race with the understated six-year-old Bernie Winkle, who on race-eve was rated a 50-1 shot, on the same line of betting as the other locally-trained cup starter Animated, from the Sutton Grange stable of Graeme Dalton.
While he conceded Bernie Winkle’s recent form looked ordinary from a ‘numerical’ perspective, Douglas said the gelding had made habit of being held up for a run, but would get no better shot at an upset win from his number one draw and with no shortage of speed in the race.
“One of the reasons we entered him in this race was because we knew we were going to draw reasonably close to the fence. Drawing one, he’s not without a chance,” he said.
“He’s an opportunist, he’ll sit behind the leader three-back the fence, but over the 2600m and the way he races, the race just suits him down to the ground.
“He had no luck in the Kilmore Cup earlier on in the year, he got behind a slow one.
“With Love Ina Chevy and San Carlo both with gate speed, the worst I can see him is being three back the fence and from there it really gives us a shot to use his opportunist tactics and sprint home.”
The race has been dominated in recent years by short-priced favourites and will have another in the Shepparton-trained San Carlo ($1.40), who is coming off a solid Inter Dominion campaign.
But with a significantly larger field than in the last three years (10 starters), Douglas believed Saturday’s race would be the most open in recent times.
“San Carlo and Delight Me, Emma Stewart’s horse, they’re flying – there’s also Kerryn Manning’s horse (Stroke Of Luck), which is not without a show,” he said.
“But you would say San Carlo deserves to be favourite and is going to be the one to beat.
“What probably helps horses like mine and Love Ina Chevy and a couple of others is, Delight Me and Stroke Of Luck are going to have to put themselves in the race, which ups the tempo of the race and really makes it an interesting affair.”
A long and successful career for Douglas, who finished sixth in last season’s Victorian trainers’ premiership with 76 wins, has included a swag of country cup wins.
But despite coming close on occasions, Douglas said a Cup triumph at Lord’s Raceway was the one success which had so far eluded the stable.
“My brother Daryl did (win it) once – not on one of mine - but we have filled a few placings. Hopefully we can go one better this year” he said.
“We’ve been to the top of the tree a couple of times, but you always want to win your local cup and the bragging rights that come with that,” he said.
“This is probably the best horse I have had in it and the best chance I’ve got.”
Douglas will have five runners on cup night, with arguably his strongest chance coming in the Ranvet Pace (2150m) with the promising four-year-old Vandanta.
He hoped a successful Cup night could be the springboard to a strong year ahead for the stable.
“The (2018-19) season is going well – we are not working the numbers we once used to, but we are still in the top five in the state,” Douglas said.
“That’s probably an over-achievement with the numbers of horses we have going, which is about 20.”
Current TAB betting for the PETstock Bendigo Pacing Cup:
San Carlo ($1.40); Let It Ride ($4); Delight Me ($13); Stroke Of Luck ($21); Love Ina Chevy ($34); Bad Billy ($41), Glenferrie Blade ($41); Bernie Winkle ($51), Animated ($51), Motu Gatecrasher ($51); Star Of Memphis (scratched).
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.