Steve White says defending champion Paua Of Buddy is trialling as quick as ever ahead of Sunday night’s Group 2 Bendigo Cup heats (425m).
Paua Of Buddy won the 2021 Bendigo Cup in a scintillating 23.29sec, just .01sec outside the track record set in the heats by Typhoon Sammy.
However, injury and illness have restricted Paua Of Buddy to only 11 starts in the ensuing 12 months (for 4 wins and 6 minor placings) and just 22 starts in his 12-win career.
Paua Of Buddy returned to Steve White in August after a stint in NSW with owner/breeder David Jones, during which he smashed the Wagga 400m track record and ran third in the inaugural Southern Stars final at Goulburn.
Since resuming in Victoria, Paua Of Buddy ran third in The Arrow at Healesville, winning his match race against Panama Canal, fifth in a G2 Healesville Cup heat and a last start third at Bendigo, on September 9, where he missed the start badly.
The April ’19 son of 2017 Melbourne Cup winner and Bendigo Cup placegetter Aston Dee Bee will make his first appearance in a month when he exits Box 5 in the fourth of eight ‘must win’ Cup heats – Race 6 at 7.39pm.
“We’re happy with him,” said Steve White.
“We haven’t had any issues with him and he’s trialling as quick as he was a year ago.
WATCH: PAUA OF BUDDY (B1) was a brilliant winner of the 2021 Group 2 Bendigo Cup Final (425m), clocking a scorching 23.29sec, just .01sec outside third-placed TYPHOON SAMMY’S (B7) track record.
“He’s been going really good, but I haven’t had him out of the boxes since his last start, at Bendigo.
“He walked out of the boxes that night. Since we had the bottom joint taken off his toe, he hasn’t been springing out of the boxes. But once he hits the sand he takes off.
“The box draw doesn’t do us any favours. He’s just got to jump and if he gets room to move, we know he’s got that massive motor.
“We’re getting him ready for the Melbourne Cup – that’s his goal.
“I’ve been giving him post-to-posts at Sandown and The Meadows to toughen him up and keep him fit that way, so he’s ready to go to town after the Bendigo Cup.
“He’s three and a half now and I said to ‘Jonesy’ (David Jones) that we’ve got to get him up to ‘500’ now and have a crack. After the Melbourne Cup we can drop him back again for the Hobart Thousand and Warragul Cup.”
White also has Paua Of Buddy’s litter sister, Paua Of Janie, engaged in the following heat, with the G2 Traralgon Cup runner-up also confronted with a tough draw in Box 6.
“I thought I’d take Paua Of Janie too because she’s been jumping but she’s in a very hard race – she’s against Typhoon Sammy and Aston Exceed,” White said.
As White eluded, course record holder Typhoon Sammy (Box 1), trained by four-time Bendigo Cup winner Jason Thompson and third to Paua Of Buddy in last year’s final, will contest Heat 5.
After winning the Traralgon and Horsham Cups, Typhoon Sammy is chasing a $50,000 bonus for winning three country cups in a calendar year.
Four-time country cup winner Ferdinand Boy, which ran fifth in last year’s Bendigo Cup Final, will exit Box 3 in Heat 6.