Local trainer Matt Cumani has Grey Lion primed to win his first race on Australian soil in the Listed $300,000 Ballarat Cup (2200m) at Ballarat on Saturday.

Grey Lion, above running second to Qewy in the 2016 Geelong Cup, is in top order for the Ballarat Cup. Photo by  Ultimate Racing Photos.

Grey Lion, above running second to Qewy in the 2016 Geelong Cup, is in top order for the Ballarat Cup. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Grey Lion has been placed three times from eleven starts since arriving in Australia and the French import heads to the Ballarat Cup on the back of a gutsy second to Vengeur Masque in the Group 3 $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on November 11, the last day of the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Cumani is pleased with the way Grey Lion has come through that run and is looking forward to seeing him in the winner’s stall after the running of the Ballarat Cup on his home track.

“He is a horse that needs a lot of racing and I think we’ve worked that out now, with every run he seems to be getting fitter, stronger and having more guts at the end,” Cumani told racing.com.

“Since his last run he’s been in great order and I’m hopeful that on Saturday we’ll see him at his very best.

“When he runs he’s thereabouts but he doesn’t quite put them to bed and you like to think that when a horse heads another horse in the run that they can put them away.

“I’m hoping that it’s just been a case of him waiting to get fit and hit his peak.”

Grey Lion was narrowly beaten when second to Qewy in the 2016 Group 3 $300,000 Geelong Cup (2400m) at Geelong at his first run in Australia and his other placing was a third three starts back to Folkswood in the Listed $300,000 Cranbourne Cup (2025m) at Cranbourne on October 15.

Jordan Childs will again team up with Grey Lion who has drawn nicely at barrier three in the thirteen horse Ballarat Cup field.

Victoria’s leading trainer Darren Weir will only have one runner in the Ballarat Cup, last start winner Mr Garcia who has drawn barrier nine with apprentice Ben Allen in the saddle.

Allen replaces Kerrin McEvoy who was aboard the five year old last start when he won the 1800m BenchMark 90 Handicap at Flemington on Kennedy Oaks Day over the four day Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Chris Waller will saddle up the top weight Antonio Giuseppe who will jump from barrier five with Michael Walker on top.

Antonio Giuseppe will be dropping back in grade following his last start seventh to Lucky Hussler in the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m) at The Valley on October 28.

Final field for the 2017 Ballarat Cup (2200m)

# Last 10 Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Hcp Rating
1 1240×54277 ANTONIO GIUSEPPE (NZ) Chris Waller Michael Walker 5 58kg 101
2 5x246211x0 DE LITTLE ENGINE Danny O’Brien Ben Thompson (a) 10 56kg 97
3 7614246054 EXTRA ZERO David & B Hayes & T Dabernig Regan Bayliss 4 55.5kg 96
4 02510×0046 BIG MEMORY (FR) Tony McEvoy Luke Currie 1 55kg 95
5 076×070342 GREY LION (IRE) Matt Cumani Jordan Childs 3 55kg 95
6 66214×2703 SECOND BULLET Danny O’Brien Ben Melham 11 54kg 93
7 110x4x57x1 MR GARCIA (GB) Darren Weir Ben Allen (a) 9 54kg 92
8 136x668x60 BIG BLUE (GB) James Cummings Stephen Baster 13 54kg 91
9 96x990x701 SONNTAG Henry Dwyer Jye McNeil 7 54kg 89
10 x431431x01 ONCIDIUM RULER Michael Kent Beau Mertens (a) 2 54kg 87
11 x51710x073 GRAND DREAMER Robert Smerdon Patrick Moloney 6 54kg 80
12 39×8057222 KNOWABLE Steve Richards Dean Yendall 12 54kg 72
13 2605043313 JIMMIE JIM Charles Quick Ms Nikita Beriman 8 54kg 57