The combination of Sydney’s rain-soaked tracks and a trouble-free campaign have catapulted Bethencourt into a purple patch of form that has not only earned him a shot at stakes company, but favouritism for the Lord Mayor’s Cup.
The gelding has glided through Heavy 10 conditions at his past two starts at Randwick and Warwick Farm to street his rivals by a combined margin of more than 12 lengths.
Trainer Kim Waugh can think of no better time to raise the bar and Bethencourt is a nominal $4.20 market leader for the Listed Lord Mayor’s Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
“He’s had a troublesome career but this prep has been great, he has been problem-free,” Waugh said. “Obviously he is going well and loves the heavy (ground) to top it off, so it has been working to his advantage.”
A winner up to a mile, Bethencourt has placed over 1900m but didn’t feature at his only attempt over the 2000-metre Lord Mayor’s Cup journey when unplaced behind Crystal Pegasus (Ire) at Kembla Grange in August. However, Waugh said he had genuine excuses that day and didn’t anticipate stamina being an issue.
“We always thought he would stay and that’s why we ran him at Kembla that day,” she said. “We thought that was a great race for him, he was going well but the track was too hard for him.
“We didn’t really get any indication so we thought we would give him another go. We can always bring him back to a mile if we’re not happy, but I’m pretty confident he will (run out the 2000 metres).”
Bethencourt will be part of a three-horse team for Waugh at Rosehill, along with French Bonnet, who has been scratched from the Midway Handicap (1400m) in preference for the Schweppes Handicap (1500m), while Oxford Tycoon will only tackle the final race if the track isn’t too wet.
Waugh has warned punters to forget French Bonnet’s last-start failure at Hawkesbury as she was badly galloped on shortly after the start.
“We were very lucky, it stripped her tendon and bruised it, but it could have been much, much worse,” Waugh said. “It has healed up lovely and her work has been good so I think she will go well.”