A wet end to the Spring Carnival in Victoria played into the hands of Horsham-based trainer Paul Preusker as five-year-old Captain Envious (NZ) took out the Listed Ballarat Cup (2000m).
Starting the $3.70 favourite, the gelding ploughed through the heavy conditions to score by 2½-lengths ahead of Young Werther (NZ) ($6.50) — who placed in the Group 1 Champions Stakes (2000m) at Flemington last month — with Just Folk ($5) in third.
Captain Envious (NZ) was a strong winner of today's Ballarat Cup; picture Racing Photos
Plotting a path through the Country Cups Final at Caulfield on November 18 with a third placing behind Claidheamh Mor, Captain Envious (NZ) notched a fifth victory in 16 starts to add to six placings.
"I always like having the right horse for the right job, and it's only now that I thought about targeting the race," Preusker said. "He's got that blistering turn of foot. He's turned into a nice horse, handles wet and dry.
"I thought let's have a go here. I didn't want to stay him out this prep, so 2000 metres ticked the box."
Though reluctant to set higher aims, the Listed Warrnambool Cup (2350m) in May could be an option for Captain Obvious (NZ) in the new year. On this Ballarat Cup display, a wet winter would hold no fears for the son of Savabeel in staying features.
"He quickened up like it was a good track," jockey Michael Dee said. "He ploughed through that. He was running away from them on the line and he took time to pull him up. It was a super effort."
Consistent performer Foxy Cleopatra ($4.60) finished second-last in the field of nine in her first outing on heavy ground.