Ballarat Cup option for Von Tunzelman

New Zealand trainer Roger James will discuss with the owners of Von Tunzelman whether the gelding has another spring start in Victoria in the Ballarat Cup on a seven-day back-up.

James has nominated Von Tunzelman for Saturday’s $300,000 Listed race over 2200m after his fifth in the Group Three Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown.

But the trainer admits the 28 nominations taken on Monday are stronger than he anticipated.

“I want to discuss it with the owners tonight and make a final decision,” James said.

“I’m happy enough with him but the nominations have come up probably a bit stronger than I imagined they might.”

Von Tunzelman finished sixth in an 1800m-benchmark race at Flemington during this month’s Melbourne Cup carnival before his fifth at Sandown on Saturday in the race won by Payroll.

James felt the gelding was a bit one-paced in Saturday’s race but said he was doing his best work on the line and through the line.

Should he decide to head to Ballarat, James believes the step up in distance would suit.

Von Tunzelman’s best win in New Zealand was in a 2000m-Listed race in February.

“To be fair he had three lead-up runs on heavy tracks at home and we still haven’t got him to his best distance,” James said.

“Definitely 2000 metres and possibly further are his best distances.

“That’s why I was looking at the Ballarat Cup.”

Should James opt against a Ballarat Cup start he said the five-year-old would likely head home with a view to an autumn campaign.

Saturday’s Group Two Zipping Classic winner The Taj Mahal headlines the Ballarat Cup nominations while Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller has entered Antonio Giuseppe.

Victoria’s premier trainer Darren Weir, who is based at Ballarat, has three entries including import Mr Garcia who won the 1800m-race at Flemington in which Von Tunzelman was sixth.

Andreas Wohler was the trainer for Mr Garcia’s first Australian start and he was then transferred from the German to Weir.

The Matt Cumani-trained Grey Lion, a last-start second in the Group Three Queen Elizabeth Stakes, is also among the entries for his home-track Cup.

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