‘Country king’ Ferdinand Boy commences his quest for back-to-back Group 2 Ballarat Cup crowns on Friday night.
Trained at Lara by David Geall, the flying machine headlines a stately set of speedsters contesting six heats of the Cup – sponsored by SJC Concreting – which is the second leg of the Western Festival of Racing.
A triple G2 country cups winner, Ferdinand Boy won the 2021 Ballarat Cup, over 450 metres, in a sizzling 24.84sec.
Last year, he also won the Shepparton Cup (450m) – in a then track record of 24.75sec – and Healesville Cup (350m) in a slick 18.88sec.
Ferdinand Boy, which has won five of his past eight starts, also contested this year’s G2 Shepparton Cup (6th) and G2 Traralgon Cup (4th), and last year’s G1 Hobart Thousand (3rd), G3 Devonport Chase (2nd) and G2 Bendigo Cup (5th) – plus Shepparton Classic (1st), Listed Western Districts Derby (8th) and Warrnambool Derby (1st).
He’s won 39 races (with 15 seconds and five thirds) from 74 starts and $343,580 in prizemoney.
Ferdinand Boy had a ‘pipe opener’ for the Ballarat Cup series on Monday night.
Starting $1.60F, he finished a desperately unlucky second to All In Jasper ($22.90) – beaten 1.7L in 21.81sec – at Shepparton (385m).
But retaining the Ballarat Cup ‘throne’ will be difficult to delegate considering his aristocratic opposition.
Ferdinand Boy, which is three from five over 450m at Ballarat, has drawn Box 3 and is quoted at $2.50 behind Mepunga Mustang ($2.10) in the first heat.
And he’s at $7.50 along with Mepunga Mustang – behind Typhoon Sammy ($5.50), Hennessey and Mr. Audacious, both at $6.00 – in TAB’s ‘All In’ market.
Below is a summary of the heats:
Heat 1 (Race 3 – 7.48pm) TAB Fixed Odds
Appears every inch a ‘match race’ between Ferdinand Boy (Box 3), which is ultimately attempting back-to-back Ballarat Cup wins and a fourth G2 country cup, and rising star Mepunga Mustang (Box 2), a winner of 12 from 22.
The key to the race is whether Ferdinand Boy (24.84sec PB) can pinch an early break on G3 Country Championship finalist Mepunga Mustang (25.08sec PB), which has some serious ‘horsepower’.
Heat 2 (Race 4 – 8.07pm) TAB Fixed Odds
It’s no surprise Hennessey (Box 1) dominates betting as he’s unbeaten in three starts here (25.10sec PB) and is four from five exiting the ‘red’ trap.
But the G3 Provincial Plate winner, which has won 21 from 39, should beware G2 Cranbourne Cup winner Jax Bale (Box 7), which is two from two here (25.07sec PB), and G2 Warragul Cup finalist Ultimate Avenger (Box 8) with a 25.04sec PB.
Click HERE for TAB’s ‘All In’ Ballarat Cup market
Heat 3 (Race 5 – 8.28pm) TAB Fixed Odds
‘Whirlwind’ Typhoon Sammy (Box 4), a winner of 27 from 42 including the G2 Traralgon Cup and G2 Horsham Cup, should storm to victory. Holder of the Traralgon 395m and Bendigo 425m track records, Typhoon Sammy is unbeaten in two starts here (24.83sec PB) and is four from four exiting the ‘blue’ alley.
Place chances must be given to G1 Silver Chief runner-up Compliance (Box 6) and Horsham Cup runner-up Americano Miss (Box 8).
Heat 4 (Race 6 – 8.48pm) TAB Fixed Odds
‘Next big thing’ Mr. Audacious (Box 1) looks too ‘bold’ – and brilliant – for his rivals. He’s won four races from only six starts, including a track record-breaking effort in a G2 Shepparton Cup heat before finishing fifth in the final.
But he’ll need to be at his ‘audacious’ best against G2 Warragul Cup winner Robbie Rotten (Box 7), which was runner-up in the Shepparton Cup, and dual G3 winner Barooga Smoke (Box 2).
WATCH: Ferdinand Boy (8) defeats Fortuna Bale (7) and Bound To Succeed (3) in last year’s Ballarat Cup.
Heat 5 (Race 7 – 9.08pm) TAB Fixed Odds
A pick-it-with-a-pin affair between Shepparton Cup victor Substantial (Box 2), which is 11 from 29, dual G3 finalist Black Avenger (Box 1), three from six here (24.98sec PB), Yozo Bale (Box 3), four from eight here (24.86sec PB), and Body Hack (Box 6), which is 17 from 30 including six of his past seven.
However, ageless 2020 Ballarat Cup winner Yozo Bale will be the ‘sentimental favourite’. The G1 Temlee runner-up and five-time country cups finalist also won the 2020 G2 Bendigo Cup.
Heat 6 (Race 8 – 9.27pm) TAB Fixed Odds
G1 Adelaide Cup winner Do It (Box 3) constantly lives up to the Nike ‘Just Do It’ advertising slogan. Amazingly, he’s contested four G1 finals at his past 10 starts – including runner-up in the Hobart Thousand and third in the Temlee.
But if he doesn’t ‘Do It’, look out for Zipping Scorcher (Box 4), which is 13 from 22 including seven of his past nine, and four-time G2 finalist Dream Wizard (Box 6) which finished third in the Shepparton Cup.
NB. Three heats of the Autumn Classic (450m) will also be conducted on the program.
Pawnote: The Group 2 SJC Concreting Ballarat Cup final (450m), which carries a $50,000 winner’s cheque, will be decided on Friday, April 8.