Home » Major jumps hurdles en route to Sydney Cup

Major jumps hurdles en route to Sydney Cup

Image: Steve Hart

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have adopted a unique approach to Major Beel’s Sydney Cup assault.

The trainers of Derby winner Major Beel have employed a little equine psychology in order to reinvigorate the Group One winner for his Sydney Cup bid.

Disinterested in his training at the start of the preparation, Major Beel was sent to Melbourne for a change of scenery, and a major shake-up of his routine.

Rather than build his fitness in shorter races, Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott opted for a series of 2400-metre barrier trials over the hurdles, and the signs have been positive they have had the desired effect.

“I felt he was going through the motions a bit at the start of the campaign,” Bott said.

“He had a different lead-up prior to his run in the Roy Higgins, he had a few trials over the hurdles to keep him switched on and to give him a good grounding.

“It was moreso to try to change the routine for him, which off his last run looks to have worked to an extent.”

After resuming with a sound midfield effort in the Pakenham Cup (2500m), Major Beel showed improvement to finish fourth in the Listed Roy Higgins (2600m) last start.

Back in town for Saturday’s Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick, last year’s ATC Australian Derby winner rounded out his preparations with a more conventional course proper workout during the Breakfast With The Stars trackwork session on Tuesday.

While the horse is untested beyond 2600 metres, Bott says he won’t be found lacking on the score of fitness.

“Two-miles, his first attempt at that is a bit of an unknown,” Bott said.

“But he’s had a really good grounding and we’ve done as much as we can to get those miles into his legs in Melbourne.”

Major Beel will be joined by stablemates Military Mission and Serpentine in the staying feature.

Military Mission has had a weight-for-age grounding, running competitive races in the Ranvet (2000m) and Tancred Stakes (2400m) and wasn’t disgraced at his only 3200m attempt when tenth in last year’s Melbourne Cup.

He has drawn wide in barrier 17, but Bott believes that will suit their intentions to ride him quietly.

“There wasn’t much speed on paper in the Tancred so he led. He’s a better horse when he can settle and he’ll be forced to do that Saturday from the draw,” Bott said.

Serpentine has been well beaten in four starts over 3200m or further, including in the past two Melbourne Cups.

However, he has been prepared differently this time with Waterhouse and Bott restricting his build-up to middle-distance races, the tactic yielding a brace of confidence-boosting wins while also keeping him on fresh legs.

“I feel this is the best form we’ve had the horse in since we’ve had him,” Bott said.

“He has been incredibly tough in his two performances to date, he’s had a good grounding and now is the time to try to attempt 3200 again.”

The Sydney Cup changed complexion on Tuesday when nominal favourite More Felons wasn’t an acceptor, trainer Chris Waller advising stewards the horse had suffered a minor tendon injury that had ruled him out of the autumn.

Circle Of Fire, to be ridden by Hong Kong’s Andrea Atzeni, is the new $4.60 favourite with Serpentine top market pick of the Tulloch Lodge trio at $13, ahead of Military Mission ($15) and Major Beel ($31).

 

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