Tasmanian gelding Banca Mo continued his strong run of form and signalled the potential for bigger things to come with a convincing win in the Listed $200,000 Warrnambool Cup (2350m) today.
After saluting in his two previous starts, the five-year-old was a well-backed favourite and he more than justified his $3.80 starting price.
It was the son of Tough Speed’s first start beyond 2000m but he made light work of the staying trip, powering through the line five lengths clear of Muirfield and Shiny Buttons.
Bought for just $2100 at the 2009 Tasmanian Magic Millions yearling sale, Banca Mo has now won 11 of 21 starts and collected more than $440,000 in prizemoney.
Scott Brunton, who trains the progressive stayer with father David, said in the lead-up to Warrnambool that he could be given a shot at the Brisbane Cup (2400m) in June.
Last year’s Warrnambool Cup winner Dance With Her showed the race can be a useful lead-up to Brisbane when finishing second in both the Group 3 Premier’s Cup and the Group 2 Brisbane Cup.
The other option for team Brunton is to spell and bring him back for a crack at some spring features in Melbourne.
Earlier in the day New Zealand jumper Banna Strand stormed down the outside to record a thrilling win in the $250,000 Grand Annual Steeplechase (5500m) from Man Of Class and Dhaafer.
It was the fifth Grand Annual win for trainer John Wheeler who described the result as a “huge buzz.”
“This race is the only race in Australia that suits him. He’s a dead set steeplechaser, an old fashioned type who just keeps plodding away, but he’s got a lovely rhythm to him and jumps well,” Wheeler said.