Racing: Heavy footing may trip Sepoy's farewell

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Like So You Think a week ago, fellow Australian Sepoy's exit from the racing stage may not go to script.

Plans for the forgotten sprinter to bow out in Sunday morning's July Cup - the race originally on Black Caviar's agenda - could be thwarted by the weather.

The forecast for Newmarket is for heavy rain. Sepoy would not run on heavy ground.

"It's all doom and gloom, but hopefully the weather men are as bad at tipping as ours are," Darley Stud's Henry Plumptre told the Herald Sun.

"Newmarket is a good draining track, but if it rains ... it could be heavy and Sepoy would not run."

Sepoy is a $12 chance with Paddy Power to become the second Australian, or expat, to win the Cup, up the gruelling 1200m course.

The favourite at $4 is Bated Breath, another who does not like heavy footing, who ran second in the King's Stand Stakes.

Australian-trained Ortensia, the unplaced favourite in the King's Stand, is an $11 chance.

Soul, a former Aussie owned by Darley and a close fourth in Black Caviar's Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, is a $21 chance.

Plumptre said Sepoy faced the challenge of his glittering career to bow out a winner.

Sepoy hasn't raced since finishing near-last on the unfamiliar Tapeta surface in the Golden Shaheen at Meydan on March 31.

He has been given no favours under the weight scale, allotted 57kg as a Northern Hemisphere 4-year-old.

"At his best he is outstanding," Plumtre said. "I know he worked on Saturday morning and they must have been pleased otherwise he wouldn't be running.

"You look at a horse like Soul, who ran so well to Black Caviar. Sepoy could give Soul 3kg at weight-for-age and still beat him easily."

Plumptre said Sepoy rated superior to Starspangledbanner, who won the July Cup in 2010, and on-par with Choisir, who ran second in 2003.

Sepoy will be retired to Darley's Australian operation and will stand for a service fee of A$60,000.

Trainer Paul Messara is committed to running Ortensia. "She gets through it but she doesn't thrive.

"But quite a few of the fancied runners don't like it so the field could drop away a bit."

Ortensia will be ridden by the in-form William Buick, who will be instructed to get the mare into a comfortable rhythm to give her the best chance on the undulating 1200m course.

"I think the most important thing is balance and getting into a rhythm early," Messara said.

"I think we would be willing to sacrifice a position to get her balanced because that is the most important thing. Where we draw and how many starters there are will play a major role."

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