A firm track at Ballarat on Saturday will suit the favourite Mr Garcia in the Listed $300,000 Ballarat Cup (2200m).
The Ballarat track had been rated a Good 4 on Wednesday at acceptance time and new jockey Ben Allen said that Mr Garcia should get conditions to suit after winning on a Good 3 rated surface last start in a 1800m BenchMark 90 Handicap at Flemington on Kennedy Oaks Day during the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“I watched it (the Flemington win) live. It was quite a good win. The track was very firm on the day, and I’d say it’d be quite firm on Ballarat Cup Day as it was last year,” Allen told racing.com.
“So I know it’s a tick he handles the firm track. I’m not sure if he likes a bit of cut out of it which would make him a better horse.
“At least I know he handles it, he goes into it in good form, the 22 (hundred) should be in our favour, and we should be able to land in a nice spot behind some of the chances.”
Mr Garcia was having his first start in Australia under the banner of German trainer Andreas Wohler when Kerrin McEvoy carried the blue, black and white colours of Australian Bloodstock to victory at Flemington.
Darren Weir has since taken over the reins on Mr Garcia who had won three times from eighth starts in England before heading down under.
Allen is not worried about barrier nine and expects Mr Garcia to take up a position in the first half of the thirteen horse Ballarat Cup field.
“Obviously the horse has good gate speed, so we’ll use that, hopefully slide across without doing any work into a spot, be one-back, two-back (or) three-back, I’d say they wouldn’t want him too close, just stepping up (in trip), and hopefully we can get onto the back of something cruising into it, and save him up for a good 300m sprint,” Allen said.
“I am quite confident, especially coming in with 54kg. It’s not the overly strongest race, the only other horse coming into it in good form is Oncidium Ruler. Whether it comes into that race and keeps its form, we’ll have to find out, but it’s a very good chance.”
Bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au have installed Mr Garcia as the $3.20 favourite for the Ballarat Cup ahead of the Chris Waller trained Antonio Giuseppe at $5 and the locally trained Grey Lion at $6.
Antonio Giuseppe has drawn barrier five with Michael Walker booked to ride while the Matt Cumani trained Grey Lion will jump from gate three with Jordan Childs in the saddle.