Ballack opens early elect for Perth Cup

Classy Victorian stayer Ballack is $7 favourite in TAB Sportsbet’s opening market on the $400,000 BMW Perth Cup (2400m) and big race trainer Danny O’Brien will test him for a WA trip when he starts at Flemington on Saturday.

Ballack, a $354,000 prize money earner and a Tattersall’s Cup winner at Brisbane’s Eagle Farm in June, ran a close last-start second over 2000m at Flemington on November 8.

He looks well treated with 52kg in the Perth Cup on January 1 and connections are keen for a return to Ascot, where Ballack ran second to Guyno in last year’s WATC Derby.

O’Brien, who won the Caulfield Cup last season with Master O’Reilly, said yesterday Ballack would be flown to Perth if he impressed in a 2000m handicap on Saturday.

“The horse hasn’t raced for a month, but he’s fit,” O’Brien said. “He’s on target for the Perth Cup, but he must show top form in the race on Saturday before we book his WA flight. I won’t send him to Perth unless I think he can win the cup.”

Mike Moroney’s four-year-old Mission Critical, who set the pace and ran fifth in last Saturday’s Kingston Town Classic, is a $7.50 second favourite in Perth Cup betting.

By Ernie Manning

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