THE Darren Weir-trained Shiny Buttons has stormed into contention for Thursday’s Warrnambool Cup.
Shiny Buttons firmed from $12 to $5 for the $200,000 Cup, 2350m, after powering through the heavy conditions to take out an open handicap by more than four lengths on Tuesday.
The seven-year-old moved to the second line of Cup betting behind stablemate Akzar at $3.30.
Weir said Shiny Buttons would be taken to the beach on Wednesday with the intention of being back at the track on Thursday.
“Hopefully he can pull up well and back up on Thursday,” Weir said.
Shiny Buttons brought up a winning double for Weir on the opening day of the three-day Warrnambool Racing Carnival.
The Ballarat trainer also produced six-year-old Top Brass ($11) for victory in a maiden, 1200m.
Top Brass also kick-started a big day for the Payne family.
He provided the first leg of a riding double for Michelle Payne.
She also saluted on Akavoroun ($3 favourite) in a benchmark70 handicap, 1200m.
Her brother, Patrick Payne, trained No Song No Supper ($4.20 favourite) for a win in a benchmark78 handicap, 2350m.
It was a day of doubles.
Warrnambool/Caulfield trainer Ciaron Maher and jumps jockey Steve Pateman also had multiple successes, combining with Palmero ($1.80 favourite) for a bold front-running win in the $100,000
Brierly Steeplechase, 3450m.
He held off the Weir duo of Cats Fun ($11) and Via Savoia ($31) by more than three lengths.
Maher admitted his main emotion was relief after Palmero remained unbeaten in three jumps runs since returning from a lengthy injury layoff.
“He’s just a real bold-going horse and it’s his first go around here and I was a bit unsure about him on the heavy ground,” Maher said.
Maher’s next decision will be whether to run Palmero over the gruelling 5500-metre trip in Thursday’s Grand Annual Steeplechase.
The trainer said he would take Palmero to a beach to help the horse recover on Wednesday and Thursday before committing to a start.
Maher has won the Grand Annual Steeplechase twice with Al Garhood but he rates Palmero as a superior jumper.
Weir saddles up two runners in the $100,000 Galleywood Hurdle, 3200m, on Wednesday – Gotta Take Care and Maythehorsebe Magic, which won a hurdle for trainer Jarrod McLean at the carnival last year.
Weir will also make a three-pronged assault on the listed $150,000 Wangoom Handicap, 1200m, with Blackie, Lord Of Brazil and Anlon.