Gai Waterhouse and Damien Oliver ended the Spring Racing Carnival in style winning today’s $200,000 Listed Sportsbet.com.au Ballarat Cup (2200m) with The Offer.
Oliver, who famously partnered the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente to win the $6 million Emirates Melbourne Cup earlier this month, said the imported son of Montjeu relished today’s heavy conditions.
“Gai’s brought this horse down at the right time,” Oliver said. “He’s certainly on the way up when some horses might be coming to the end of their tether.
“He really enjoyed that soft track. Coming into the straight he was going OK but when I put the foot down he really extended and I think he can win a very good race on soft ground.
“It’s been fantastic (combining with Waterhouse) and it’s nice to get on some quality horses.”
After settling in a midfield position, Oliver moved The Offer ($4F) into a three-wide position with cover approaching the 1000 metre mark before allowing him stride into the race approaching the home turn.
Joining the leaders at the top of the straight, The Offer burst to the lead with 200 metres left to travel before racing away to record a 3.3 length win over Pelicano ($9.50), who finished runner-up in the race for a second consecutive year.
Brad Rawiller could only manage third position aboard Hurdy Gurdy Man ($16), a further half-a-length away, in his quest for a fourth straight Ballarat Cup victory.
Part owner of The Offer John Bongiorno, who also has a share in Fiorente, said he couldn’t believe his luck.
“It’s a dream come true to win the Melbourne Cup but to win a race like the Ballarat Cup, to win any race anywhere in Australia is an amazing privilege,” Bongiorno said.
“It’s been a great association with Gai, we’ve become good friends over the years and how great of a trainer is she and how great is Damien Oliver?
Story by Ben Asgari