Seamer saddles up for Ballina Cup

MELBOURNE Cup-winning jockey Scott Seamer will contest tomorrow's $50,000 The Point Ballina Cup (1600m) for the first time in years as part of a three-pronged attack by Ballina trainer Stephen Lee.

Seamer, who has previously won two Ballina Cups, confirmed his acceptance yesterday to ride the former Gai Waterhouse-trained gelding Kyros in the showpiece race.

“I can't remember the last time I raced in the Ballina Cup,” the Fernleigh jockey said.

“I rode at Ballina the other day (Byron Bay Cup) but I can't remember the last Cup to tell you the truth.

“I originally thought Chris Whiteley would be riding him (Kyros) but Stephen had some sort of mix-up with some riders and he ended up being too light for Chris so I rang Steve up and asked if I could ride him.

“I hadn't planned to ride it's just the way things went.

“Usually the local riders are linked with the stables and there's not much left.”

Seamer is no stranger to the five-year-old, having ridden Kyros on three occasions including a place in the Group 2 Sires Stakes Plate (1400m) in 2007 when Waterhouse was the trainer.

Kyros was considered a horse of great potential after being purchased for $100,000 from the Magic Millions sales.

As a two-year-old he claimed good prizemoney with a third in the Sires and a second in the Doomben Slipper. He also finished fifth in the TJ Smith Plate (1600m).

But since then his form has tailed off, however Seamer rates his chances aboard the gelding which is only carrying 53kg.

“He's been a bit of a non-winner,” Seamer said.

“He won two early and had a lot of potential but has had trouble finishing races off.

“He can handle a dead to slow track so with a bit of rain about he should go okay.”

Kyros is perhaps the least likely of the Lee-trained trio that could claim the Cup.

Lee has also entered recent Byron Bay Cup winner Surety, which will be ridden by top country hoop Peter Graham, and 2007 Ballina Cup winner Felixtrinidad, which will be ridden by top Gold Coast jockey Chris Whiteley.

Lee did not return calls from The Northern Star yesterday.

However, there is plenty of competition for the Lee trio.

Gold Coast trainer Les Kelly is bringing down two runners including last year's Ballina Cup winner Bann Ruby.

He has also set in-form five-year-old La Zeel for the 1600m race.



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