Emerging Ballarat trainer Matt Cumani is planning to saddle up imported stayer Grey Lion in the $300,000 Sportsbet Ballarat Cup.
Cumani is excited by the prospect of having his first runner in his home cup.
He said while winning the listed Ballarat Cup on Saturday, November 25, would be something special, just having a starter in the race would be satisfying.
Cumani said the Ballarat Cup had been the long-term aim for Grey Lion and as long as he pulled up well after the group 3 $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, 2600m, at Flemington on Saturday he would get to Ballarat.
He said although dropping back to 2200m was not ideal, the cup was still a great fit for him.
Grey Lion has had five starts this campaign and for the first time since arriving in Cumani’s stable last spring has put two good runs together with third in the Cranbourne Cup and a close up fourth in the Geelong Cup.
Cumani said Grey Lion faced a tough assignment at Flemington, but was suited by having Jordan Childs, who knew him well, on board.
He lines up against the likes of Godolphin’s Bendigo Cup winner Qewy, and Darren Weir duo Kiwia and Gallic Chieftain, which was third in the Herbert Power and second in the Geelong Cup.
Kiwia is coming off a Coongy Handicap win and second in the Bendigo Cup.
Another Ballarat trainer Archie Alexander also has a presence with mare Wheal Leisure, which followed up back-to-back wins with fifth in the Geelong Cup, when she settled at the back and made up late ground.