Gai Waterhouse is keen to break her Melbourne Spring Carnival drought when she saddles up Fat Al and Hallowell Belle in the two Group 1s on the last day of Melbourne Cup week at Flemington tomorrow.
Fat Al hasn’t started since winning the Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 6 and will line up as one of the fancies in the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m).
While Hallowell Belle will take her place in the Group 1 $1m Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) after finishing fourth, less than three lengths behind Sea Siren in the Group 1 $500,000 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
Waterhouse arrived in Melbourne with the favourites in the Caulfield Guineas, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup but has failed to collect a Group 1 trophy.
She picked up placings with Pierro in the Group 1 $1m BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley and Glencadam Gold failed in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m).
And while Glencadam Gold ran a more respectable race to finish sixth behind Green Moon on Tuesday, Waterhouse’s latest import Fiorente ran a mighty race to run second in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington, collecting her third runners-up cheque.
Even though Fat Al jumps up to 58kg in the Emirates after carrying only 52kg in his all the way Epsom win, Waterhouse is her usual super confident self that he will be right in the finish.
“He had a good trial at Cranbourne and I couldn’t be happier with him,” Waterhouse said.
“Tommy said he couldn’t believe how well Fat Al felt under him. The horse is bigger and stronger again. He is such a good horse. He has top weight (58kg) but he is only 3.5kg over the limit so he is quite well weighted.”
Tommy Berry again takes over the reins on Fat Al and will be trying to do the same as he did in Sydney and go to the front and run his rivals off their feet.
Fawkner heads the Emirates Stakes market at $4.60 in front of Queenslander Solzhenitsyn at $6 with Fat Al at ($7), Ambidexter at $8, Free Wheeling at $9 and He’s Remarkable at $9.50.
Craig Williams takes over from the suspended Nash Rawiller on Hallowell Belle who kicked off her Melbourne campaign in great style with an impressive first up win in the Group 2 $220,000 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 6 before her Manikato fourth.
“This mare has been super consistent,” Waterhouse said.
“She has won up the straight so we know she handles the track, and she tried very hard in the Manikato Stakes. I believe she has a very good chance in a tough race.”
The John O’Shea trained Sea Siren is the one to beat after scoring first up in the Manikato and will start the favourite on Saturday.
Sea Siren continues her outstanding Brisbane Winter Carnival form which saw the Fastnet Rock mare win twice at weight for age at Group 1 level at Doomben in the $400,000 Bundaberg Distilling Co. BTC Cup (1200m) on May 12 and the $650,000 Carlton Mid Doomben 10,000 (1350m) on May 26.
The Robert Heathcote trained Buffering is expected to bounce back after putting in an uncharacteristic run when sixth to Sea Siren at Moonee Valley after winning both his Melbourne Spring Carnival appearances at Group 2 level prior to that.
Sea Siren is the early favourite for the Patinack Farm Classic at $3.80 and will likely keep the top spot at start time while Buffering is the second pick at $5.
The Peter Snowden trained Mental is next in the betting at $6 while Hallowell Belle is at the juicy odds of $16.