Wet track one El of a key to Bodegon’s Cup chances

Chris Waller will have four Hawkesbury Cup runners and all will appreciate a rain-affected track.

EL BODEGON. Picture: Pat Healy Photography

There were high expectations for European Group One winner El Bodegon when he announced his arrival in Australia with a slashing placing in the 2022 Cox Plate.

It is fair to say he has been disappointing since.

In seven subsequent runs, El Bodegon has consistently finished closer to last than first but Charlie Duckworth, assistant to trainer Chris Waller, says there is a good reason for his below par form.

"The Cox Plate was the last time he has raced on a heavy track, he hasn't even raced on a soft track since," Duckworth said.

"He won his Group One on a soft, he won his maiden on a track that got abandoned the race after he won, so he's a real mudlark and we just haven't had the tracks.

"We're hoping for the rain to come and if it doesn't, he won't be running."

In seven starts on rain-affected tracks in Europe, El Bodegon didn't miss a top-three finish and he could finally get his favoured conditions again in Saturday's Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m).

Consistent rain is forecast across Greater Sydney on Friday and Saturday and if it arrives, Duckworth expects the five-year-old to produce a swift form reversal.

"If we can get him back to his best, he should annihilate a field like this if he's half-a length off Anamoe," Duckworth said.

"We're really happy with him at home and he has been gelded as well since he moved over."

El Bodegon is one of four Hawkesbury Cup runners for the Waller stable along with Bold Mac, Welwal and enigmatic mare Madame Pommery.

The latter is also an acceptor for the Hawkesbury Crown (1300m) where she has drawn barrier 16, however, she will all but certainly line up in the Cup from gate one.

"She is a Group One winner in a Hawkesbury Cup with 54 (kilos) and a soft draw, which makes it impossible to go against that," Duckworth said.

"The shame is her form is below her best, but we can't pick anything at home. She worked well on Tuesday and she has won on a heavy track if the rain does come."

Welwal at $10 is the highest in markets of Waller's quartet and if he can get luck from a wide draw, Duckworth also regards him as a genuine chance.

"He has drawn wide again which is disappointing for the connections, but we've got James (McDonald) and his work has been fantastic," Duckworth said.

"He's going to need a lot of luck from that gate but on a soft deck he can come to the fore."