A RISE in class and an awkward alley has trainer Guy Walter cautious about the chances of the Albury Gold Cup favourite Jacquinot Bay ahead of today’s $170,000 feature.
The last-start Canberra Cup winner is quoted the $5 favourite and has drawn barrier 12 for jockey Blake Shinn.
Walter said he was surprised Jacquinot Bay was installed favourite and rated Melbourne raiders Massiyn and Mourinho as the horses to beat.
“Yes, Jacquinot Bay is coming off a career best win in the Canberra Cup but he had a bit more in his favour that day,” Walter said.
“It was probably a slightly weaker field and he had a good gate.
“Today he is drawn awkwardly but he is in good form and I couldn’t be happier with the horse.
“He has got an outstanding winning record, with 18 starts for eight wins, and is a nice horse in the making.”
Rival trainer Brett Cavanough yesterday said Jacquinot Bay had undeniable credentials leading into the Riverina’s richest race and declared it was his race to lose.
Walter dismissed that assessment.
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“While he looked good winning the Canberra Cup he has to go to another level today,” he said.
“I have no doubt he is going to need his fair share of luck.”
The veteran trainer will have a two-pronged attack in the race with Canny Ballad as he targets his first victory in the Border’s premier race.
Canny Ballad is untried over 2000 metres and has finished runner-up at his previous four starts at Warwick Farm and Randwick.
To be ridden by Kathy O’Hara, Canny Ballad, on the third line of betting at $8, has also drawn awkwardly in barrier 15.
“Canny Ballad is a consistent galloper and gives the impression he will run the 2000 metres, but you don’t know until you try,” he said.
“The prospect of a rain-affected track won’t affect either of my horses.”
Walter said victory would be a welcome tonic after he was forced to retire his outstanding mare Appearance with a tendon complaint during the week.
Appearance had been in devastating form, winning the Expressway Stakes, Apollo Stakes and Canterbury Stakes in successive starts.
Her Canterbury Stakes win was the fourth group 1 win of her career, having also won the Coolmore Classic, Queen of the Turf Stakes and Myer Classic, and she finished with more than $1.7 million in prizemoney.