By Julieanne Horsman
It’s been five years since Gai Waterhouse last won the Goulburn Cup. Under the guidance of Tommy Berry, Kinnersley burst through late to claim victory over a hot field in the 2012 feature.
“We actually targeted that race with him and it was very satisfying to come out on top,” Gai said.
Now training with Adrian Bott, Gai has two chances to win her first Goulburn Cup as a partnership this Sunday with Fabrizio and Dark Eyes.
“Either one is capable of winning,” she said. “They’re both fit and ready to go.”
Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup winner, Fabrizio, has been given the topweight of 62kg, 3.5kg more than his nearest rival Embley, but as a big and strong gelding it isn’t expected to bother him.
He resumed with a 9th in the Listed Hawkesbury Ladies Day Cup (1400m) a fortnight ago after jumping from barrier 10 and being forced to travel three-wide with no cover, but Gai’s confident of a better performance this weekend.
“He came through the race extremely well and I’m very happy with him,” she said. “He’s cruising around, the older horses seem to get into a nice rhythm, and the mile will suit him. He’s a lovely horse with a great attitude and should win.”
Fabrizio is expected to be up on the speed and will appreciate the wide open Goulburn track. While he has won in all conditions, he is better on drier ground. He will partner with in form apprentice jockey, Rachel King, for the first time.
“She’s an extremely talented young jockey and puts in a lot of hours working in the morning,” Gai said. “She deserves the ride.”
One of Fabrizio’s main challengers in the $150,000 race is stablemate, Dark Eyes. The gelding has had a lackluster preparation, failing to record a win since his Listed Canberra Cup triumph, but he did finish 3rd to Interlocuter two starts ago.
“Dark Eyes has been a bit disappointing lately but this race might help him regain his focus,” Gai said. “He’s better over further but 1600m will be a nice stepping stone.”
Blake Shinn, who is currently sixth in NSW jockey premiership, has been booked for the ride and is eager to add his first Goulburn Cup to his ever-expanding trophy cabinet.
Fabrizio and Dark Eyes are equal second favourites behind Gods In Him on TAB Fixed Odds.
The Waterhouse/Bott stable is a big supporter of Goulburn and often sends horse down the Hume to the country racecourse.
“It’s a beautiful track, especially since a considerable amount of money was spent upgrading it,” Gai said. “The prizemoney is fantastic too.”
The Goulburn Cup is in its 133rd year and headlines the showcase meeting which boasts a prize pool of $395,000 across eight races.
Off the track, fashions on the field is set to draw a strong field of competitors from men, women and kids. There will also be kids entertainment, a variety of food stalls and live music.
Gates open at midday with the first race set to jump just after 1pm.