VETERAN trainer Jock McArthur will achieve a childhood dream when he saddles up Beware Of Thestorm in the $15,000 Camperdown Cup today.
McArthur, who has been training on and off for the past 50 years, said Beware Of Thestorm was his first runner in his hometown cup.
“I’ve always wanted to just have a runner in the cup,” the 73-year-old horseman said.
“I think I’m lucky this year because I reckon Beware Of Thestorm is a big chance of winning the race.
“It’s great to have a runner in the cup but it would be something special if the horse could win.
“I’ve got a fair few of my old mates turning up for the day. ”
Beware Of Thestorm, a $4000 purchase, scored a first-up win in this preparation when he took out the time-honoured Peter Blank Sprint at Terang on New Year’s Day.
The long-head victory with apprentice Boris Thornton in the saddle took his stake earnings to more than $100,000.
McArthur will use the services of Thornton again in the 1600-metre race today.
“Boris claims four kilograms which brings us in only one-kilogram above the minimum which is a real bonus,” McArthur said.
“Beware Of Thestorm’s best form is on wet tracks.
‘‘We will not get those sort of conditions today but I’m sure with the four-kilogram claim we’ll be competitive.
“We’ve got no big plans mapped out for Beware Of Thestorm at this stage — today is the race I would love to win.”
Irish Fire, trained by McArthur’s old mate Geoff Daffy, looms as the main danger. Daffy, who has trained six Camperdown Cup winners, played down his chances of winning the feature race.
“I’m just not sure what happened to Irish Fire at this last start when he performed poorly at Geelong,” he said.
“I suppose on his best form he could be in the finish.
“His last-start failure is a mystery to us. Irish Fire has never won a race over 1600 metres so that is an extra concern for our chances.”
The Camperdown Cup, which is race five on the seven-race program, is scheduled to start at 4.17pm.
Meanwhile, in-form Warrnambool stayer Initiator will be in the spelling paddock tomorrow — no matter the result of the $80,000 Piping Lane Handicap at Flemington today.
Trainer Aaron Purcell said the former international galloper, which is attempting to win his third consecutive Melbourne race, deserved a good break.
“There were lots of options open going forward for Initiator in this campaign but we’ve decided to give him a good break after today,” he said.
‘‘It’s no secret that we’ve got a good opinion of him.
“We’ll set him for a race in the spring in Melbourne so he needs a break now.”
Champion jockey Damien Oliver will ride the five-year-old which is favourite for the 2000-metre open handicap.
Lord Wimble, trained by fellow Warrnambool trainers Bill and Symon Wilde, will be one of the main dangers to Initiator in the Piping Lane.
The Wilde stable also accepted with the last-start Warrnambool winner Young Tigers Jeuny in a $80,000 three-year-old race over 1410 metres.