The Ballarat Mail: Cup Day 19th November 2022

From Cranbourne to Ballarat - the Country Cup caravan rolls on this Saturday.


Phar Lap, flat whites, Crowded House, Russell Crowe (the one from A Beautiful Mind and Gladiator not the phone chucking one...), pavlova, Chris Waller and Mike Moroney. 

Australia is responsible for many great people and things and two great Australians, Waller and Moroney, are at the centre of the very Australian tradition of a big Country Cup this Saturday at Ballarat. 

They saddle three apiece. Waller with saddlecloths one to three, Desert Icon, Polly Grey and Atishu, and Moroney with Bankers Choice, Bermadez and Tokorangi.

About 75% of the early betting is under the care of this dinky di duo and also our idea of the winner, Bankers Choice.

Bankers Choice came across the Tasman a Group Three winner and has run eight times without success. Seven of those eight runs have come in Group races and all eight have come in races that required a better rating to win than the best that Bankers Choice has been able to offer to date. That will surely not be the case at Ballarat where his peaks are a match for any in the line up and better than winning averages in the race. 

It makes for big moment of truth for Bankers Choice. He has run credibly in a string of top races, none better than his latest two efforts in a fast Crystal Mile and a slow Mackinnon, and is now handed his chance to put one into the back of the net. 

Barrier one is interesting. It should inspire them to sit a touch closer and John Allen, already a Ballarat Cup winner aboard Kiwia, is the man for the moment. Calm but assertive. Willing and able to bury the chance when it comes. 

Atishu, the current market leader, did just that last time. She found her perfect race, finally pitched up to 1 1⁄4 m, and it went perfectly for her. She is a threat again but she proved herself no better than she already had last time and Bankers Choice should feel very capable of knocking her off. 

The Mackinnon was his first try at the trip and it was hardly a searching one, but he ran it out and has long shaped as though it would suit. He is bred to be at least as effective as he is at the mile.

It all equates to him having a good favourite's chance which the early betting hands to Atishu, in turn making Bankers Choice the choice as banker. 

It was Moroney and the Bankers Choice colours that lowered the Melbourne Mail's two weeks ago when our each way play Najem Suhail was repelled by Snapper in the last race in Cup Week. 

Najem Suhail ran well all the same, backing up his high-rating win at Sale, and in that sort of form he fits the neat narrative that post Cup week Robbie Griffiths (and his sidekick Matthew DeKock) are a stable to find. 

The winners have hardly stated pouring in as yet with just one in November to date but a couple have shaped with promise and Najem Suhail should have plenty more to offer and the fourth at Ballarat isn't a deep handicap. 

Ice Pick Nick heads betting and has ratings to match Najem Suhail which gives him an ominous looking profile on his home deck, but Najem Suhail would have to go backwards to be out of the finish and his form hints at him being every bit as likely to go the other way. Another each way look at him appeals. 



Bet Of The Day: Race 8 #4 Bankers Choice @ $4.50

Each Way Play: Race 4 #4 Najem Suhail @ $8.50

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