BENDIGO trainer Rod Symons hopes his exciting first-start winners Wit and Silversmith can take another step up on their home track on Cup day.
The three-year-old pair will go head-to-head in a tough benchmark 64 over 1300m.
Symons acknowledged it would be a tough assignment for his youngsters, who respectively broke their maiden status at their first attempt earlier this month at Kyneton (Wit) and Murtoa (Silversmith), but insisted both had earned their shot at a step up in grade.
"It's quite exciting to have a couple of horses get the job done straight off the top, but it's a pretty strong race," he said.
"It's a big jump from the maidens they ran in and there are others horses in the same boat as us.
"There are six horses there with one start, one win - we can't all win. But I'm sure all five of us trainers would be thinking we're going okay."
Symons said he was happy with both horses' preparation.
"One of them, Silversmith, we gave a little bit of time off to," he said.
"We put him aside and waited for any offers to come in from Asia, but none were forthcoming, so he's back racing.
"The Asians tell you they like horses who are lightly raced with winning form, so we'll suck it up tomorrow and hopefully a buyer might be interested, if not we'll keep racing him."
Symons has not had a runner on Bendigo Cup day since 2015, when he saddled up Savannah Moon, who ran in the feature race, which was won by the Gai Waterhouse-trained The Offer.
The day has provided plenty of special moments for him over the years, most notably in 2004, when he finished with two wins after Fifeshire and Ruben notched a race-to-race double in the second last and third last races on the card in a pair of open handicap events.
A double for Symons contributed to a tally of three winners overall for the Bendigo training ranks on the day, with Arthur Pace scoring a win with The Lanz.
Three wins almost became four, with the Shane Fliedner-trained Jakodae finishing a close second in the Bendigo Cup behind Gallic, who made it back-to-back Cup wins the following year.
After a quieter day for the Bendigo training ranks last year with just a sprinkling of Cup day runners, Symons was happy to see numbers boosted this year.
Just as pleasing was the overall number of acceptances across the program, with most field sizes at capacity, including the $400,000 Cup.
"The Cup itself is pretty strong - it's a good race for Bendigo," he said.
"We put up good money, and sometimes you are a bit disappointed in the field, but this looks really strong.
"Trainers love bringing their horses to Bendigo as everyone gets a chance to win and the track is always well looked after.
"(Track manager) Bernard Hopkins does a brilliant job. It's a good spacious layout and everyone knows they are a good chance.
"It's great to see the Bendigo Cup field hold up in the midst of all the big races in Melbourne."
WIT wins on debut at @KynetonHRock claiming the SUPER VOBIS and provides @SwettenhamStud stallion Trust In A Gust his very first winner. Bred and owned by Mr. A Beard, Wit salutes for @BendigoJC trainer Rod Symons ridden by @FKersley. Congrats to all! pic.twitter.com/acFYJ43td7— TBV (@vicbreeders) October 13, 2020
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