The state’s leading stables will have a huge say in the outcome of Wednesday’s Listed Balaklava Cup. Seven of the twelve runners in the feature race come from the big name stables of Tony & Calvin McEvoy, Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas and Will Clarken.
The top-weight and class runner of the field, Waging War will have to defy recent history to win the race as he’s set to carry 59kg in the Cup. The last five winners of the race have only carried 54kg to victory and you have to look back to Bagman in 2012 who carried 58.5kg and Roman Arch who carried 60kg in 2003, as heavyweight winners of the race.
Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas will have a two pronged attack in the Cup with Waging War joined by Wasabi Bob. Surprisingly Hall of Fame trainer Macdonald has never won a Balaklava Cup but the training duo have had a bit of success at the track recently with ten winners there over last two seasons.
Tony McEvoy won the 2014 Cup with Longshoreman and will saddle up Brown Ben and Shrouded in Mist in this year’s race along with his son Calvin. In the last two seasons, McEvoy has trained 32 winners at Balaklava. 20 more than any other trainer.
Trainer Will Clarken has started the new season well, already training nine winners and he’ll have three runners representing his stable in Wednesday’s Cup. His three chances are all in form with Tatoosh and Handsome Return both last start winners, while Diapason was runner-up in his last outing. In an exciting booking for the Cup, Jamie Kah will return to SA to ride Handsome Return for Clarken.
He won his maiden here at Balaklava in November 2016. Has a great record over the trip with three wins and two second placings from eight starts over the mile. His recent form reads incredibly well finishing one length off Behemoth over 1400m and two lengths off Dalasan over 1200m. He also has form on the big stage, running sixth in last year’s Group 1 Toorak Handicap taking on horses like Land of Plenty and Hartnell. Weight could be his biggest issue but will be given every chance by Raquel Clark.
Has three wins and eight placings from 17 starts over the mile and was runner-up in last year’s Cup behind Temps Voleur. Broke a 14 month winless drought last start at Morphettvillle defeating a number of his Cup rivals including Wasabi Bob and Shrouded in Mist. If he’s back to his best he’s a definite chance.
Macdonald & Gluyas’ second runner finished second to Tatoosh last start at Morphettville. Has a great record over the mile with four wins and five placings from 13 starts. Had a good campaign over further earlier this year but he might be looking for longer trips these days.
Was runner-up in the 2017 Cup behind Balf’s Choice and ran fifth in last year’s edition. He hasn’t won since the Tokyo City Cup in September 2017. Was a bit plain in his last two runs at Stakes level and would need to improve but the mile is suitable.
He’s the hot horse of the field. He’s had three wins and two seconds in his last five starts including a win at Flemington over 2000m. In his last start he was runner up to Kentucky Breeze at the Valley over 2040m and that horse won again on the weekend in Melbourne. One win from four starts over the mile. Gets dual Cup winning jockey Jason Holder on board. In great form and has a huge chance.
Was a $21 winner first-up against some talented horses in Tequila Time and Schilldora at Morphettville. He’s two from four second up and Jamie Kah returns from Victoria to ride him. Sharp step-up from 1250m to 1600m but could be a knockout chance.
Ran last in this year’s Adelaide Cup when with the Matt Cumani stable. He had a Darwin Cup campaign over winter and is now with Heather Lehmann. He’s two from six over the mile but this looks a tough task for him.
Trainer Jake Stephens knows what it takes to win this race, winning it twice with Alcopop and Gris Caro. He ran on well over 1600m last start behind Tatoosh which looks like solid form for this race. Will be partnered by two time Cup winner Dom Tourneur. Can surprise.
Looks to be the number one seed for the McEvoy yard with Barend Vorster taking the ride. He ran third behind Tatoosh and Wasabi Bob last start and has a good record over the mile with three wins and two placings from seven starts. Always have to give a McEvoy runner a big chance at Balaklava.
Won first-up beating Diapason and Going Gaga who went on to run second at Morphettville on the weekend. He’s undefeated at his only start over the mile and is trained by Shayne Cahill who won this race as a jockey back in 1998. Might be a step up too far but he’s been running well.
Ran eighth in last year’s Balaklava Cup. He’s had one win from twelve starts since joining the Will Clarken yard. Looks to be progressing through the distances nicely for race this running over 1200m to 1400m and now 1600m here. Finished off well behind Dexter You Devil last start. Has a chance here.
The oldest runner in the field had a solid season racing in Port Augusta with three wins. He’s never won at Balaklava in seven starts and this is a huge jump up in grade.
If Waging War can handle the weight and get into a nice spot from the wide barrier then he’s the one to beat. Can’t knock the form of Charossa. While he’s back in trip, he’s always up on speed and should have no problems over the mile. The booking of Jamie Kah aboard Handsome Return looks positive after his first-up win and if his stablemate Tatoosh is back to his best, he’s got to be a big threat as well.
- Waging War 2. Charossa 3. Handsome Return 4. Tatoosh