Big guns aim for a spring cups shootout

THE spring's big-time players - owner Lloyd Williams and trainer Gai Waterhouse - will lock horns in all three majors in Melbourne over the spring carnival after the pair dominated the feature staying races in Melbourne and Sydney yesterday.

Waterhouse declared ''look out Caulfield and Melbourne cups'' after her imported galloper Glencadam Gold strode away to win the group 1 Metropolitan in what was one of three feature-race wins at Randwick for the trainer. Bookmakers certainly took note by promoting Glencadam Gold to $7 favouritism for the $2.5 million Caulfield Cup in 13 days and $10 co-favourite with import Mount Athos for next month's Melbourne Cup.

''He's my best chance to win a Melbourne Cup,'' Waterhouse said of Glencadam Gold, who has now won all four races in this country after Waterhouse's husband Robbie paid £260,000 ($310,652) to buy the son of Refuse To Bend.

Not to be outdone, Williams enjoyed a winning treble at Flemington yesterday, including the quinella in the Turnbull Stakes with Green Moon and Seville. He also won Randwick's Craven Plate with his Melbourne Cup-bound import Mourayan, to give the owner a strong hand in all three majors.

Nick Williams said the stable would run Seville in the Caulfield Cup on October 20 after he flashed home late in the Turnbull and is hoping Tanby can be re-handicapped one kilogram for his Bart Cummings victory and join the import in the richest 2400-metre handicap in the world.

Green Moon will now tackle Waterhouse's unbeaten super colt Pierro in the Cox Plate after he overcame a wide run to beat the best weight-for-age horses in the Turnbull while Mourayan will run next in the Mackinnon Stakes on November 3 before backing up three days later in the Melbourne Cup.


Waterhouse trained the feature race double at Randwick when Fat Al took the Epsom Handicap and Glencadam Gold ran away with the Metropolitan. She earlier won with two-year-old Whittington and then ensured Williams did not outdo her by also training Hallowell Belle to win the group 2 Gilgai Stakes at Flemington.

The Williams' stable ended the day with a barnstorming win by the emerging Fawkner in the final race. He will be given his chance at a group 1 race in either Saturday's Toorak Handicap at Caulfield or the Crystal Vase at Moonee Valley on October 27 before tackling the $1 million Emirates Stakes at Flemington on the final day of the carnival.

Mark Kavanagh said December Draw would run as a ''pretty fit horse'' in the Caulfield Cup in two weeks after looming to win yesterday's Turnbull before fading into third place. ''He'll take a lot out of the run,'' the trainer said. ''He let down well and he's looking for longer now, so we're happy where he is.''

The Turnbull certainly promoted the spring chances of the Williams' team but others had their dreams of a feature race success dampened. Trainer Leon Macdonald said jockey Glen Boss reported that last year's Caulfield Cup winner, Southern Speed, did not feel right before beating just one horse home.

''The vets couldn't find anything wrong with her but I thought she looked pretty awful in her action down the straight,'' he said.