Hobart Cup plans have been replaced by something far more ambitious following the win of Tasmanian galloper Banca Mo in the Hong Kong Racehorse Owners Handicap (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Trainer Scott Brunton said Banco Mo would now be set for the Caulfield Cup – and that he is more than hopeful of the stayer holding his own in the race renowned as the world’s toughest 2400m handicap.
In a quinella for Tasmanian trainers, the favourite Banco Mo ($3.10) made it two wins on end in Melbourne, scoring by three lengths from The Cleaner ($4.20).
Imported galloper Buxted ($16) showed a glimpse of his English form to finish third, a nose further back.
Brunton said Banca Mo would return to his family’s Seven Mile Beach stables and then be spelled before beginning his spring campaign.
“He’ll have a few weeks off and then we’ll head towards the Caulfield Cup,” Brunton said.
If the $2100 purchase makes it into the Cup field, chances are Saturday’s winning jockey Ben Knobel will be considered for the mount.
Knobel gave the gelding a copybook ride that drew praise from Brunton.
“The horse was a bit keen early but Ben relaxed him and he didn’t panic when a couple of others took off at the half mile,” he said.
“It was a terrific ride.”
Having enjoyed a nice trail for most of the race, Banco Mo took off after The Cleaner at the 600m, claiming the lead 150m out and racing away to a comprehensive win.