Draw crucial for Night’s Watch’s Cup bid

Draw crucial for Night’s Watch’s Cup bid

Terry Henderson believes the barrier draw will be crucial if Night’s Watch is to turn the tables on short-priced favourite Avilius in the Australian Cup at Flemington.

Night’s Watch will run in Henderson’s OTI Racing colours in Saturday’s Group One weight-age contest over 2000m, his third run back from a spell.

Now in the care of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace after being prepared by now-disqualified trainer Darren Weir when he arrived from New Zealand, Night’s Watch is the $8 second favourite for the Australian Cup.

Godolphin’s Avilius has a stranglehold on favouritism at $2.10 following two impressive Caulfield wins at his only starts since finishing well back in the Melbourne Cup last spring.

Night’s Watch has trailed Avilius home on each occasion, finishing third in the Carlyon Cup on February 9 before running fourth in the Peter Young Stakes on February 23.

Damian Lane, who has ridden the gelding in his two runs this campaign, takes the ride on Saturday.

“Frosty (Lane) was the first to say we should have gone up on to the back of Avilius last time instead of staying back,” Henderson said.

“But Avilius certainly looks the superior horse for sure, so the draw will play a big part for us.

“We fundamentally need to be in the first six and if we’re not we’ll be up against it as Avilius is a more brilliant horse.”

With Maher and Eustace having stables at Caulfield and Ballarat, Henderson said Night’s Watch may gallop at Ballarat on Tuesday.

“He could have a gallop on the course proper on Tuesday and then we’re ready to go,” he said.

Night’s Watch and Avilius are the only two horses under double figures for the Australian Cup with Ace High, Johannes Vermeer and Rekindling at $11.

Credit: AAP