Werribee Racing Club is hoping its recent attempts to re-connect with the local community will bear fruit at Sunday’s Cup meeting, with thousands expected to flock to Spendthrift Australia Park.
“It’s an exciting time, we’re looking forward to it and we’re getting a really good vibe from the community,” said Werribee Racing Club General Manager Ashley Baker.
“Really good response this year, my main focus was really getting back to the community, obviously it’s a big cup meeting in terms of the industry, the Werribee Cup itself, but for the community we really need to give them something to connect to again after a few changes in recent times.
“We’re starting to get a bit of momentum, it’s our fourth year on this date and hopefully we can get 5000 people through the gate which would be a fantastic result for us.
“We’ve really promoted the family aspect of it, so there’s a number of children’s activities on the lawn, it’s free entry for children under 17 years old, there’s been a lot of local reaction with the local kindergartens.”
The club has also been able to attract some of this season’s leading country performers for the $125,000 Werribee Cup.
“The field has held up well, only 10 acceptances but they’re the 10 that we wanted to accept,” he added.
“You’ve got Another Coldie, who’s doing the country cup circuit at the moment and getting a bit of a cult status behind him.”
“Mahamedeis, who won the Traralgon Cup last week, and there’s Master Zephr and a couple of those solid handicap horses going around, so looking forward to it, I think it will be a really competitive race.”
Track manager Paul Downes said he expects the track to race in the Good range for the entirety of Sunday’s meeting, having irrigated each night in the lead-up due to the hot weather.
“They’d been forecasting it all week so we kept the moisture up to the track leading into it, the last few nights we’ve put between 8-10mm on it, it’s got a fairly nice cover of grass on it and I think it should race ok,” he said.
“We anticipate it to be in a Good 4 range, Sunday is only going to be 24 degrees with a light southerly breeze so we anticipate it will remain in that range for the better part of the day.
“The rail is back in the true position, we haven’t had a horse on there for about three weeks, the inside six to seven metres we got back for our own use straight after the Melbourne Cup, so outside that there might be a little bit more wear and marking from the internationals but I would envision it is fairly even right across the board.
“After they (the internationals) left we shaved the inside six or seven metres down straight after the Melbourne Cup to try and promote the Kikuyu.”
Meanwhile Matt Welsh has delivered his selections for Sunday’s meeting.
Race 2 No 7 – Zupachime win
I’m confident we can start Werribee Cup Day on a winning note with this four-year-old debutant. It’s rare that backing an unraced four-year-old mare, who is sporting bandages for her debut, is a recipe for punting success but Zupachime has trialled like a very good horse and she’s with a very astute trainer – Kylie Vella.
This mare is pretty special, even before she steps foot onto the racetrack. She is a full-sister to Zuprising, a high-talented gelding who sadly broke down at Bendigo at just his fifth start. He was also trained by Vella and raced by the Butler family; the same connections of Zupachime.
Zupachime went to the Terang trials on November 26, where she was restrained to race just off speed before charging into contention under her own steam. She has a lovely action and wasn’t knocked around to finish second.
WATCH: Zupachime’s Terang jumpout (blue/white jacket, finishes second):
Race 6: Werribee Cup No. 8 – Mahamedeis
There doesn’t look a huge amount of speed. Social Element will lead from Second Bullet and Rapidole. The small field should get into formation quickly and it seems unlikely they’ll go at a breakneck speed. Mahamedeis was visually very impressive in winning the Traralgon Cup by an extending seven-length margin. He looped the field, putting the race to bed on the point of the home bend and the little step-up to 2000m is only further in his favour. I rate him $1.90 so hopefully better is available when markets open.
Race 8 No. 8 Lauchetti each-way
There is very good speed engaged with Chapel Road and Makahu Boy. This is Lauchetti’s second preparation for Peter Healey and I think the six-year-old son of Equiano is set to run a cracker. He has turned in two outstanding trials at Cranbourne (November 12 and 26). He has been handy to the speed in each and hasn’t been tested in either effort.
WATCH: Lauchetti’s Cranbourne trial
From gate four, Lauchetti should settle just behind the speed, enjoying a soft run in transit, and the way he trialled he should run into contention over the concluding stages. Makahu Boy has also trialled very well – he will take running down. I assess Lauchetti a $5 chance and suspect we will get much better – happy to have something each way.