WA trainer Rob Gulberti looking to defend the Broome Cup title

Superior Smile with trainer Daniel Pearce and jockey Alan Kennedy, alongside Blackwater Bay with jockey Kyra Yuill and trainer Rob Gulberti ahead of today’s $100,000 Broome Cup. Picture: Simon Merritt/Western Racepix.

It was not long ago when Rob Gulberti thought he wouldn’t have a horse to defend the Broome Cup with, which he won with Staaden last year.

But thanks to the help of his good mate and top Western Australian trainer Adam Durrant, he’ll have $3 favourite with Betfair – Blackwater Bay – attempting to give him his third title over the 2200m distance today.

Gulberti – also the Darwin Cup winner with Ihtsahymn in 2019 and 2020 – loves this time of year.

But the passionate and humble trainer also likes to “fly under the radar”.

So despite having Blackwater Bay in excellent condition after two starts for him, Gulberti played down the hype surrounding his six-year-old gelding.

“He’s going pretty good. He’s just had quite a few issues, so I’m a bit surprised he’s (the $3 favourite),” he told horsebetting.com.au.

“But that’s the way it is. His run looked all right the other day. He sat back and ran home nicely (finishing third in the Kimberley Cup while carrying 56.5kg on July 30), and he is a nice stayer.

“He’s a full brother to (Group 1 winner) Come Play With Me. But he does come with his issues – that’s why he’s in Broome.

“We’ve got him ready for the Cup. Hopefully he turns up and runs a big race.”

Gulberti was impressed with the condition of Blackwater Bay – to carry 55.5kg and Kyra Yuill to ride him today – when he arrived for his Broome campaign.

“He’s only had the two runs. He was fit when we got him here. We didn’t have a Cup horse, so Adam threw him on the truck for us,” he said.

“The plan was always to give him three runs and space them because he needs his runs spaced.

“And I’m pretty happy with the shape he’s in now.”

Gulberti loves talking about his horses, but is a little more circumspect when you mention his August Cup success in Broome and Darwin in recent years, also claiming the 2015 Broome Cup with Desert Glow.

“Don’t put words in my mouth – I like to fly under the radar. But I like the occasion and the challenge of setting a horse for a specific race, for sure,” he said with a smile.

“It’s hard to do because lots of things can go wrong. But I guess (today) will tell the tale.

“Everyone will be doing their best, and they’ll be trying to do the same thing as what we’re doing.

“So we’ll see how we go, but it’s a good time to win a race for the owners.

“It’s much better than when there are 1000 people at the races, that’s for sure.

“This was what we had him (Blackwater Bay) set for.”

While humble about his own proven training ability, Gulberti is happy to have Blackwater Bay in his care – a stayer he saw had plenty of potential in his early years.

While not quite delivering on his talent, the defending Broome Cup-winning conditioner believes his gelding has all the right attributes to salute today.

“He’s the son of Blackfriars. Although Blackfriars isn’t around, his brother (Come Play With Me) has won a Group 1 race (The Metro at Randwick in 2019),” he said.

“I’m not saying he’s going to win anything like that, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he won a nice staying race over the summer.

“He’s got that good breeding. We thought he was a Derby horse as a baby, but he just wasn’t quite ready and he had a few little hiccups.

“A couple of things didn’t quite go right, so he never really reached the potential that we thought he would.

“But he’s a beautiful, big horse and he’s sound.

“His frame of mind is really good. And he’s the type of horse that – disregarding what happens – he could come back and win a nice race and not surprise anybody.”

In saying that, Gulberti would love to return Blackwater Bay to the Durrant stable as a Broome Cup winner.

“The prizemoney isn’t really good to run him every week and crucify him points-wise along the way,” he said.

“I’ve just been nursing him along, and concentrating on getting him to a nice race that he can win.

“And hopefully then he can go back and continue on with Adam.

“We’ve worked him together for a long time now. He knows that I’m not gassing the horses and we look after them. It’s just a good relationship.

“His dad (Geoff) bred the horse, so that adds another twist. It’s pretty exciting to be able to race the horse for his mum and dad.”

Gulberti said $7.50 winning chance with Bet 365 – Port Hedland Cup winner Block Of Land – would be tough to beat.

“He would be the one. We had a horse who did something similar last year. He won the Broome Cup pretty comfortably last year after winning the Hedland Cup,” he said.

“That’s a pretty good form (indicator).

“He (Block Of Land) has dropped to 54 ½kg from 59kg and he won with a leg in the air two weeks ago.

“So that’s pretty good for me.”

Blackwater Bay’s Odds The Broome Cup

Race 7 – Silk #3 Blackwater Bay (3)

6yo Gelding | T: Robert Gulberti | J: Ms Kyra Yuill (55kg)

$3 with Betfair

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