Gai Waterhouse believes The Offer can win Wednesday’s $300,000 Group III Bendigo Cup (2400m) ahead of his tilt at next week’s Melbourne Cup.
The import won the 2014 Sydney Cup and while he has not reached Group I level since, his form this preparation suggests a feature race success is a possibility.
The Offer won the Listed Rowley Mile first-up at Hawkesbury on August 20 and although unplaced at three subsequent starts, scrutiny of the results shows the form to be better than the bare figures suggest.
He has been beaten less than two lengths in the Wyong Cup (2080m), the Group III Newcastle Cup (2300m) and last time out in the Tattersalls Cup (2400m) at Randwick on October 17 when carrying 61kg.
On Wednesday, The Offer will carry 59kgs under Michael Walker before dropping to 54kg in the Melbourne Cup.
“He looks in magnificent order and it does look a winnable race for him,” Waterhouse said.
The Offer won the Ballarat Cup in 2013 on a heavy track and his three successive stakes wins in 2014, culminating in the Sydney Cup, were on soft or heavy tracks.
“He’s obviously very well suited by the soft but I think he’s actually got used to the firmer tracks now and he’s racing well,” Waterhouse said.
“Wednesday is the lightest weight he’s been asked to carry this preparation and it gives him seven days, rather than three if he ran at Flemington on Saturday, to get ready for the Melbourne Cup, where he will carry a kilo less than when he won the Sydney Cup.”
The seven-year-old has been prepared to peak in the Melbourne Cup but his trainer is still looking to win another race beforehand.
“He has thrived since coming to Melbourne, you only have to look at him to see how well he has done,” Waterhouse said.
“It would be lovely to win a race like the Bendigo Cup and even better to win another Melbourne Cup.”