Ego adds to already stellar Ballarat Cup field
By Adam Hamilton
A last-minute change of heart from Team McCarthy has propelled Saturday night’s Group 1 Ballarat Cup to the next level.
In a surprise twist, Luke McCarthy confirmed early Monday that Inter Dominion runner-up Expensive Ego would head down the highway to tackle the Ballarat Cup and Hunter Cup two weeks later.
The field already boasted the likes of Lochinvar Art (read more about him soon), Amazing Dream, Spirit Of St Louis, Triple Eight, Max Delight and Tango Tara.
Last night’s (Monday) barrier draw only added to the intrigue of the race.
Spirit Of Louis, fresh from his Bendigo and Shepparton Cup wins, drew the pole with Lochinvar Art right next door in gate two.
But, and it’s a big but, two explosive beginners are draw right next to them: Victoria Cup hero Max Delight (three) and last week’s Shepparton Cup flop Mach Da Vinci.
It is very unlikely either Spirit Of St Louis or Lochinvar Art would have the early speed to match Max Delight and, to a lesser extent, Mach Da Vinci.
So, the race becomes very tactical, very early.
And we still await a definite call from trainer-driver David Moran that Lochinvar Art will take his spot in the race.
“I want to be absolutely certain he’s come through the first-up run really well. I’ll decide tomorrow (Tuesday),” he said.
Expensive Ego, another not known for his early brilliance, has the back row (gate two), but comes out right behind Lochinvar Art.
“We took our time to decide between Victoria or staying home to focus on the Miracle Mile, but he’s so well he deserved a crack at these races,” co-trainer Luke McCarthy said.
“I’ll come down and drive him this week and Jack (Callaghan) will stick with Spirit Of St Louis, who he’s been driving so well.
“I know he (Expensive Ego) is first-up, but he’s very forward. He’s ready to go.”
The draw wasn’t kind to champion former Kiwi mare Amazing Dream, who returns from a freshen-up for Nathan Purdon has gate 11 to contend with in the strongest race she’s contested for a long, long time.
“It’s not as bad as you think. I’d like the chance to drive her with a sit, but, of course, you need the pace on and some of the other big guns to have a crack at each other,” driver Anthony Butt said.
Another cruelled by the draw was classy former Kiwi pacer Triple Eight, who faces a daunting task from outside the front row (gate seven).
Ballarat Cup draw :
Front row: Spirit Of St Louis, Lochinvar Art, Max Delight, Mach Da Vinci, Demon Delight, Supreme Dominator, Triple Eight.
Back row: Torrid Saint, Expensive Ego, Tango Tara, Amazing Dream, Our Uncle Sam, Like A Wildfire (emerg).