Ballarat Cup: Terry O'Sullivan defends track surface

STAWELL trainer Terry O’Sullivan has leapt to the defence of the Ballarat Turf Club, praising the condition of the track presented on Sunday.

O’Sullivan’s top staying mare Exceptionally loomed to win the sportsbet.com.au Ballarat Cup, but petered out on her run to finish third behind winner King Diamond.

The veteran trainer didn’t believe his horse was a victim of track bias, rather the quick back-up from the Zipping Classic, the step back from 2400m to 2200m and being trained with the Melbourne Cup in mind for most of her preparation.

“I thought the track was really good at Ballarat,” O’Sullivan said.

“There was a bit of grass on it and a bit of give in it, that’s all I think horses need.”

O’Sullivan said the run of Sam Pritchard-Gordon-trained Doctor Fremantle, who flashed home from back in the field to finish fourth, suggested horses could make ground away from the rail and off the pace.

Exceptionally, who has placed in the group 3 Naturalism, the group 2 Herbert Power, the group 3 Lexus and the listed Ballarat Cup this preparation, is off for a well-earned spell.

A tilt at the Sydney Cup in autumn looks a possible target for the horse.

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