Mr Garcia is a new addition to Darren Weir’s stable and the favourite to give Victoria’s premier trainer his second Ballarat Cup and apprentice Ben Allen his first.
The imported gelding made an immediate impression in Australia, winning an 1800m benchmark race at Flemington during the recent Melbourne Cup carnival while in the care of German trainer Andreas Wohler.
Five-year-old Mr Garcia was then transferred to Weir and is set to make his first appearance for his new stable in Saturday’s Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m).
Mr Garcia has been installed the $3.20 favourite in the field of 13.
Ballarat-based Weir won the Cup in 2004 with Just The Part.
Allen has the ride on Mr Garcia and the apprentice is looking forward to trying to improve on his second placing in the $300,000 event a year ago.
“I ran second in it last year on Scherzoso for trainer Tony McEvoy, so hopefully I can go one better this year,” Allen said.
“I haven’t had a good look at the race yet but I remember watching the horse win at Flemington and it was a good win.
“Stepping up to the 2200 metres looks an ideal step up.”
Mr Garcia races in the colours of syndicators Australian Bloodstock and Allen carried their colours to victory aboard the Weir-trained Big Duke in this year’s Group Three Launceston Cup.
“They’ve been really good to me,” Allen said.
“So hopefully we can get them a Ballarat Cup.”
The Ballarat Cup is the feature on the 10-race card which also includes the $200,000 Magic Millions 2YO Clockwise Classic, the $100,000 Magic Millions 3&4YO Classic and the $120,000 VOBIS Gold Eureka Stockade for three-year-olds.
Sydney’s premier trainer, Chris Waller, won the Ballarat Cup with Junoob two years ago and has top weight Antonio Giuseppe in Saturday’s race.
Antonio Giuseppe is second favourite at $4.80.
Grey Lion, a last-start runner-up in the Group Three Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington, has barrier three for his attempt to win his home-track Cup and is on the third line of early betting at $5.50.