Hall of Fame trainer Tony Brett will be out to add another Group 1 to his CV when he rugs up interstate chaser Ebby Ripper in heat two of Thursday night’s Group 1 UBET Gold Cup (710m).
The daughter of US sire SH Avatar and Ebby Miss is no stranger to the Albion Park circuit, with her former trainer campaigning her in Queensland during last year’s Winter Carnival, a campaign that resulted in a win in the Consolation of the Gold Cup, a second in the Superstayers Invitational and a fifth placing in the final of the National Distance Championships in August.
At 40 months of age, Ebby Ripper is arguably reaching the twilight of her career, but comes to Brett in terrific form, having won the Listed Cup Night Stayers (715m) at Sandown Park last start and having notched her maiden Group victory in the Group 3 Gold Cup (720m) at Wentworth Park in April.
Brett said that the brindle chaser had settled into his Grandchester property well,
“She’s been up here a week or so. She’s settled in good and slotted in well to what we do here.”
Tony is no stranger to preparing an interstate stayer for the Winter features, having taken charge of the campaigns of NSW chaser Tuavasa Shek in 2015 and South Australian Luna Jinx in 2016, leading them to Winter Chase success and a finalist berth in the Gold Cup respectively.
It’s a challenge that the leading mentor relishes, having prepared quality stayers like Quidame and Queen Lauryn to Group race successes earlier in his training career.
“We’ve had a bit of success with them. I love stayers, we don’t get many of them, so it’s exciting.”
It won’t be a walk in the park for Ebby Ripper as Victorian trainer Rob Britton is bringing six chasers to chase the rich spoils on Thursday night, including Group 1 winning littermates Tornado Tears and Rippin’ Sam, who will make the 2018 renewal of the Gold Cup one of the strongest in recent memory.
“She’s going to need to be at her best to match those guys, for sure” Brett said.
“You’re going to have to run 41.70 or under to win these races. This is probably the best crop of stayers we’ve had up here.”
Ebby Ripper ran 41.81 taking out the Open staying race on Gold Cup night last year but Brett believes she can run faster and put herself right in the frame for success on Thursday week.
“She can run that sort of time, no doubt, she’s capable. She’s up to this sort of race but it’s going to be tough.”
Brett says he believes that Dashing Corsair’s seven-year-old track record may even be in jeopardy.
“It’ll go in the next fortnight, I’ve got no doubt. Champagne Sally ran 41.68 last week and these Victorian dogs are on another level. I think a dog like Tornado Tears, he’s capable of running records.”
While the Gold Cup is the immediate target, the Superstayers Invitational and the Origin Distance race series are also on the radar for Brett and Ebby Ripper.
“She’s up here for the long haul. (The owners) said while you can get races for her we’re happy to leave her up there. It augurs well and we’re looking towards the future.”
The two heats of the $110,000 Group 1 UBET Gold Cup will be run as races seven and eight on Thursday night’s bumper 12 race program which also includes three heats of the Group 3 Flying Amy Classic for the youngsters. The first of 12 races kicks off at 6:39pm with gates open at Albion Park from 6:00pm.