BALLARAT trainer Darren Weir admits his satellite stable at Warrnambool has been a key to the success of his training operation.
Weir, who has more than 40 horses in work at Warrnambool including Melbourne Cup prospect Puissance De Lune and the $1 million Oaks favourite May's Dream, said he was lucky to have such great staff at his satellite stable.
"I'm only the figurehead for the stable," Weir said.
"We've got around 140 horses in work and more than 40 of them are located in Warrnambool.
"The Warrnambool horses are at various stages in their preparations. Some are in full work while others may be spelling or pre-training .
"It's been well documented that Puissance De Lune has done all his work in Warrnambool as he prepares for the Cox Plate, the Melbourne Cup and other feature races," he said.
"May's Dream, which is running in next Wednesday's Thousand Guineas is down there. She may head on to the Oaks at the Flemington carnival where she is the early favourite."
The hard-working Weir gave all the credit to his key Warrnambool workers including Mitch Freedman, Daniel Bowman, Tyson Kermond, Michael Nash, Maddie Raymond and Mark O'Donnell for the positive results his stable has delivered over the past few years.
"I've been very lucky that I've got such great staff in Warrnambool," he said.
"They are all key members in the chain. Without them we would not be having the success which the stable has been having. We're always transporting horses from Ballarat to Warrnambool.
"Platelet, which won the $200,000 sprint race at Flemington on Saturday, has done a lot of her work at Warrnambool."
Weir said beach and dune work and having horses stabled at Matthew Williams' training facility had been wonderful for his horses.
"I just think the horses love the variety of coming down to the beach and the dunes at Warrnambool," he said.
"It's a great change for the horses when we take them back to Ballarat from Warrnambool. They have really freshened up," he said.
"The Warrnambool operation is really the icing on the cake for our stable. The training facility which we use at Matthew Williams' stable is magnificent."
WARRNAMBOOL trainer Aaron Purcell described Xiphos as 'no champion' despite his victory in a restricted race over 1600 metres at Hamilton last Friday.
Purcell said Xiphos had been a difficult horse to train because of an attitude problem.
"He's a piggy type of horse," Purcell said.
"He used to be nearly impossible to handle but he's got better.
"Xiphos just gets worked up whether he's doing track work or in races.
"Our stable jockey Braidon Small has done a lot of work with him which has really helped. Xiphos just likes to get out there and run. He's no champ but he likes to win."
Purcell said the long term aim for the six-year-old may be as a jumper.
Xiphos has won four of his 28 starts.
LIGHTLY raced Warrnambool mare Mango Mojito will have her next start in a $35,000 fillies and mares race over 1200 metres under lights at Moonee Valley on Friday, November 1.
The Jarrod McLean-trained five-year-old scored a gutsy victory in a $15,000 restricted race at Murtoa on Saturday.
"I think she's a handy mare. She's honest," McLean said.
"Jockey Jason Maskiell was confident she would run well. He rode her in two races up in Darwin in July and was impressed by her.
"Saturday's win was very good as she drew a wide barrier," McLean said.
"She led the whole way but was tiring late. I reckon she did a huge job to hold on to win after doing all the work in the run."
McLean said Mango Mojito's long-term goal may be at the Palmerston Sprint at the 2014 Darwin Cup Carnival.
Meanwhile, the last-start Moonee Valley winner Blackie looks likely to run in the $80,000 Murray Bridge Cup over 1600 metres on October 16 instead of running in the $400,000 Toorak Handicap at Caulfield this Saturday.
"I've had a lot of discussions with the owners of Blackie over the past 10 days," McLean said. "I would think at this stage his next run will be in the Murray Bridge Cup.
"Blackie's record around Caulfield is not really good so it may pay to take the easier option and head to Murray Bridge with him before the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley."
Mortlake is busily preparing for a visit by the 2013 Emirates Melbourne Cup trophy on Friday, October 18. The iconic trophy, which is valued at $170,000, will be the focus at local events planned for the tour.
School children at St Colman's Primary School have the chance to see the trophy on Friday afternoon before it is taken to Abbeyfield House. Former champion jockey Roy Higgins and long-time race caller John Russell are ambassadors for the Western District leg of the tour.
A cocktail party where the Cup will be on display has been organised jointly by Abbeyfield House and the Mortlake Racing Club at the Soldiers' Memorial Hall on the Friday night. People who visit the Mortlake P12 College fete on the Saturday morning will also have the chance to see the Cup before it is taken to Woolsthorpe for a cocktail party on the Saturday night.
WARRNAMBOOL-born Shaun Ryan has joined the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board as a panel member. Ryan, who umpired 215 AFL games including five grand finals, will sit on the panel which will hear inquiries or disputes in racing-related matters.
JOCKEYS Jarrod Fry and Jack Hill felt the wrath of stewards on the weekend. Both were found guilty of careless riding charges by stewards.
Fry was suspended for his ride on Get's Better at Benalla on Sunday while Hill was outed after riding Stylish Lily at Murtoa on Saturday. Fry's suspension runs from midnight tonight until midnight on October 17. Hill's time on the sidelines also starts tonight and finishes at midnight on October 18.
EXPECT the Victoria Racing Club to break with its normal tradition of hosting the Melbourne Cup barrier draw in the committee room on Derby Day night. Insiders have indicated the new VRC owners and trainers lounge which was opened by Premier Denis Napthine at Flemington on Saturday would be the new venue for this year's Cup barrier draw.