Emerging stayer Captain Envious took his career to a new level with a runaway victory in the Listed Ballarat Cup (2000m), leading home a Kiwi-bred quinella in Saturday’s A$500,000 feature.
With a highly impressive win over Young Werther, Captain Envious collected the first black-type success of a 16-start career that has now produced five wins, six placings and A$523,350 in stakes.
The five-year-old son of Savabeel had been something of a perennial placegetter through this spring. He won the Murtoa Cup (2050m) on October 7, but then had to settle for third in the Horsham Cup (2100m), second in the Listed John Letts Cup (1800m) and a last-start third in the A$500,000 Victorian Country Cups Final (2000m) at Caulfield.
Trainer Paul Preusker was working towards his main target of the Ballarat Cup throughout that itinerary, and Captain Envious got the job done in style on Saturday.
Ridden by expat Kiwi jockey Mick Dee, Captain Envious settled in third-last behind a strong pace through the early part of the race. Dee moved off the fence rounding the home turn, and Captain Envious changed gears and stormed home down the centre of the track.
He hit the lead with 150m remaining and powered clear, opening up a winning margin of two and a half lengths.
“He was super,” Dee said. “It’s heavy ground today, but he quickened up like it was a good track. He ploughed through those conditions and was running away from them at the line. It even took a bit to pull him up afterwards, so it was a super effort today.
“He didn’t jump the cleanest, so we ended up a little bit further back than we’d planned. I was going to stay on the fence with the way things have been going in previous races, but that wasn’t going to eventuate for us this time. I ended up peeling him out, and he took off and did the rest.”
Preusker was pleased to achieve his long-term spring mission in Saturday’s feature.
“I actually don’t know if I’ve had any Ballarat Cup runners before,” he said. “You like to have the right horse for the right job, and it’s only now that I’ve had that for this race. We’ve been targeting him towards this race for a bit now, so it’s a good achievement today.
“He’s got a blistering turn of foot and has turned into a really nice horse. Wet or dry ground, it doesn’t matter to him.
“We’ll take some time to digest this before making any other plans. I think he’s a horse that will get over a fair bit more ground in time. It’s just a matter of building up some points at the moment, and today was good for that.”
Captain Envious races in the colours of his breeders, Ultra Thoroughbred Racing. He is by Savabeel out of the Italian-bred mare My Central, who won seven races including the Gr.3 Balanchine Stakes (1800m) in Dubai. All of the Central Park mare’s four foals to race have been winners, with Captain Envious the first to win at stakes level. My Central is also the granddam of Umgawa, who has won four races and finished second in the Gr.3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m) in Melbourne. My Central produced another Savabeel colt in 2020, who was named Captain Electric and is being trained by Emma-Lee and David Browne.