Beer hopes cream rises to the top in Bega Cup

Cream Rises, pictured here winning at Wagga, will take on Sunday’s $80,000 Bega Cup. Image Patriot bloodstock.

The aptly named Cream Rises will have his mettle tested in Sunday’s $80,000 Bega Cup, with the six-year-old taking on a good country cup field in the $3 million Big Dance qualifying race. 

Raced by Patriot Bloodstock, the Fastnet Rock gelding is in the care of Kembla Grange trainer Mitchell Beer.

Formerly trained by Kylie Gavenlock and Clarry Conners, Beer has only had Cream Rises for two starts, and second-up, he powered to a three-length victory in the 1400m Benchmark 74 Handicap at Wagga. 

Lumping 60.5kg to victory, Cream Rise was full of running when charging to an impressive win.

“I actually left the Magic Millions a day early to take him to Wagga, and we were pretty confident of his chances of winning, and he was aided by a terrific ride by Nick Souquet, who I was keen to have on at the Sapphire Coast,” Beer told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.
“Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to make the weight, but we lose nothing by having Alysha Collett take the ride at the Sapphire Coast.”

Beer explained that the six-year-old was bought specifically for the Bega Cup and a tilt at either the $3 million Big Dance or $750,000 Little Dance. 

“We purchased Cream Rises with this race in mind,” Beer told NSW Country and Picnic Racing. 

“He was in John Singleton’s dispersal sale at Strawberry Hill stud, and I think we paid about $25,000 for him.

“We brought him along nice and slow, and he pre-trained with Blake Fitzpatrick before we gave him the one soft trial.  

“He went to the races on New Year’s Day, and we knew it was short for him and he was not 100% ready, but we wanted to get to the mile third-up, and we had to start somewhere. 

“Still, we were really pleased with his first-up run and he was probably unlucky not to finish in the placings, and then dropping back from Canterbury to Wagga and stepping up to 1400m, we went to Wagga confident.”

Connections have drawn gate 10 in the Bega Cup, but that doesn’t worry Beer, who expects Cream Rises to be a ‘live chance’.

“It would have been ideal to draw closer, but there are six or seven horses that would have liked to have drawn a bit better,” Beer said. 

“There might be a scratching or two, and a few of the better chances have drawn outside us. 

“There will be good tempo in the race, and I’ve got full confidence that Alysha will give the horse every opportunity.

“At the end of the day, we’re happy to be there, and it’s just terrific to buy a tried horse and get to the races with a live chance for what we set him for. 

“Patriot (Bloodstock) are great supporters of country racing and country carnivals, and it’s great that they have a chance to win a Country Cup.”

It shapes to be a big Sapphire Coast meeting for Beer, who also has Old Gregg contesting the $50,000 Sapphire Coast Cup (2200m).

“Alysha takes the ride, and the horse is as honest as the day is long,” Beer said. 

“Last start, he was really game to be not beaten far by a genuine metro stayer (Xtraverz), and 2200m is perfect for him. 

“He’s gone to a better level since coming here to Kembla, and Alysha is a great judge of pace, and while it’s not hard for him to find one better, not many try as hard, and he deserves a win like this. 

“Plus, this was a target race for him, and he gets in there with every chance. He’s got a big ownership group, and a couple of them are already at the Sapphire Coast, playing golf tomorrow (Friday) and enjoying their weekend. 

Beer also has a strong hand in the $50,000 Bega Showcase Sprint, with Flying Sultan (Alysha Collett) and Shalook (Jack Martin) representing the stable.

“Flying Sultan is the pick of them,” Beer said. 

“He’s’ been racing really well and was terrific in an on-speed position in a Midway last start.  

“He’s run in the Midway was ideal over the 1100m, and he did a stack of work and was still right there at the end, and over 1200m, I think he will be terribly hard to beat.”
Beer, who took up a provincial training licence when moving his main base to Kembla Grange late last year, still has some horses in Albury, but he primarily trains out of Wollongong. 

Still, his heart is on the border, and he said he watched on with interest as Albury raced on Thursday while he brought up a winner with Apollo Mission in the 1600m Class One Handicap at Gosford on the same day.

“We’re probably light on runners in Albury, and we are getting them up and going and bringing them here to Kembla,” Beer said. 

“Today (Thursday) was weird being at Gosford and watching the Albury races; it would have been the first time in four and a half years that I didn’t have a runner there. 

“Still, I enjoyed watching each race, and Nick Souquet and Rob Wellington had a winner, and I rang them on the drive home.”

While he does miss Albury, Beer has hit the ground running at Kembla Grange, with the stable enjoying the best of both worlds. 

“I’ve got 21 in work, and it’s good and keeps us nice and sharp,” Beer said. 

“You need to perform at a higher level at Kembla, and fortunately, most of my horses are doing that, and well, the prizemoney is just terrific. 

“Plus, we have metropolitan facilities here, with the all-weather tracks, training tracks, accessibility to jump-outs and trials. 

“You’ve also got everything around you at a higher and more competitive level, with advanced farriers, chiropractors, and even jockeys, and it’s no knock on people in the bush, but if you’re really good at something, you’re head-hunted and move to the city, and here, we’ve got access to those really good people.”

It surprised many racing pundits when Beer made the move, but he’s enjoying good results and continually proving the gap between country and provincial racing is not as big as some might expect. 

“I don’t think the gap between good country racing and the provincials is there, and people underate country races,” Beer said. 

“A lot of our horses have proved that, and I’m not saying that we are coming in and winning everything, but just look at a horse like Apollo Mission; he couldn’t win a race at Narrandera, and today he won a $42,000 race at Gosford.”

While Beer is in for a big Bega Cup meeting, he treks to Newcastle on Saturday with Last Ditch Effort (Robbie Downey) to contest the 1500m Class One Handicap.