Bigger prize pool for Sale Cup

RUNNERS in Sunday’s Sale Cup will vie for an increased prize pool.

Prize money for the 1600 metre race will be $200,000, a $50,000 increase from last year. The winner of Gippsland’s richest cup race will receive $120,000.

The Sale Cup is a listed race, on the fourth tier of races, below group three.

The Sale Turf Club is hoping the increased prize money will attract a better quality field of runners.

The weather is tipped to be warm, with a possible shower. Rain during the week left the track, at time of publication, rated a “soft six”, but that is set to improve by Sunday.

Twenty-nine nominations were received on Tuesday. The final 16 acceptances were confirmed on Thursday after the publication deadline.

There were top-rated nominations, but some were also put forward to race at Moonee Valley on Friday night or Saturday.

Leading trainer Chris Waller had three nominations.

If racing at Sale, Antonio Giuseppe will back in distance after a seventh placing in the group one Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick. In his previous start, the five-year-old gelding came second in the group three Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) at Randwick.

Waller’s other nominations Amovatio is coming off a fifth placing over 1700m at Caulfield, while Mackintosh came fifth in the group three Craven Plate (2000m) at Randwick on October 14.

Sound Proposition, a six-year-old gelding for Kris Lee at Newcastle, finished fifth in the Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick last month.

Jungle Edge, a seven-year-old gelding trained by Mick Bell at Cranbourne, came seventh in the Sydney Stakes at Randwick (1200m) on October 14.

The Michael Moroney-trained Rhythm to Spare finished third in the group two Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 9. That followed wins at Flemington and Caulfield over the same distance in August.

Royal Rumble, a five-year-old gelding trained by Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas in Adelaide, came fourth at Morphettville over 1200m on October 14.

Observational, for Caulfield trainer John Sadler, could be back for his first race in 22 weeks. In April, the seven-year-old gelding won the Golden Mile (1600m) at Bendigo and group three Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield.

Jockey Michael Walker has been singing the praises of Fastnet Tempest, an Irish import trained by William Haggas.

Two Gippsland-trained horses were also nominated, five-year-old mare Caruselle, for Ian Hutchins at Sale, while Moe trainer Peter Gelagotis had New Zealand horse Moss ‘n’ Dale, who came third in the Seymour Cup over 1600m on Sunday.

Last year’s winner First Course, for Cranbourne trainer Ken Keys, was nominated, as was 2014 winner Sonntag, trained by Henry Dwyer.

A heat of the inaugural $600,000 Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series will also be held on cup day.

Eligibility for the series will be restricted to country trainers, with the horses that finish first and second in the $50,000 Sale heat advancing to the $200,000 final on Oaks Day, on November 9.

Tranquil Miss was scratched from Pakenham as has returned to racing in fine fettle for the Sale heat. The Frank Doderico-trained mare is always a chance.

Ripplebrook ran a good race first up and it looks like Sharyn Trolove has another smart galloper. The gelding should run well in the 1100m maiden.

Ray Besanko is having a deserved run of success and may pay to follow Emperor’s Chariot in the 1000m benchmark 70 Handicap. Seven Year Reward will be hard to beat with the Greg Eurell polish on him.

Festivities on cup day will again include Fashions on the Field, with categories for women, men and families.

The 2017 Melbourne Cup trophy will be on display at Greenwattle Racecourse on Sunday.

Gates will open at 11am. Free buses rides will be available to and from the track from Sale, Maffra, Heyfield, Traralgon, Loch Sport and Stratford.

Sunday, October 29 – race seven, 4.15pm