Stephens set for another pop at Balak Cup

Ten years since his first feature race victory, Victor Harbor trainer Jake Stephens will be hoping lightning can strike for a third time in Wednesday’s $100,000 Balaklava Cup.

Famous for launching Alcopop’s stunning 2009 spring, where he went from Balaklava Cup hero to running favourite in the Melbourne Cup, Stephens is hoping Dollar Dollar Bill can add her name to the honour roll.

“It doesn’t quite feel like 10 years,’’ Stephens said.

Alcopop’s emergence from Balaklava was nothing short of a fairytale

He won the JRA Cup and Herbert Power Stakes at his next two starts, before running sixth in the race that stops the nation.

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Matthew Neilson guides Alcopop to victory in the Balaklava Cup.Source:News Limited

The following season, he beat all but superstar So You Think in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes, before his break-out season in 2012 season.

He finished second in both the Caulfield Stakes and Caulfield Cup, a race many believe he still should have won, recording his breakthrough Group 1 win in the Mackinnon Stakes before retiring after running third behind Californian Memory in the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin.

European import Gris Caro gave Stephens his second Balaklava feature in 2013.

The horse was first-up for almost a year before winning the race, a victory only made more special by stablemate Detox giving him the quinella.

Stephens admits Dollar Dollar Bill has big shoes to fill but little pressure going in to this year’s race as one of the outsiders.

“She loves a genuine tempo and can produce a good turn of foot in her races, she deserves a crack in a race like this’’ Stephens said.

Jake Stephens hopes Dollar Dollar Bill can deliver a third Balaklava Cup for the stable. Picture: Atkins PhotographySource:Supplied

Dollar Dollar Bill hit her stride this time last year, winning three consecutive races before tackling the JRA Cup at Moonee Valley.

A recent overseas holiday meant the mare was sent to gun Naracoorte trainer Sue Jaensch for two solid runs to kick off her 2019 campaign and Stephens said she will run well in a small but strong edition of the feature.

“She’s been back at the farm a couple of weeks and her work has been good,’’ Stephens added.

“She ran really well last time on a track favouring leaders last time, behind Tatoosh — her sectional times were pretty good.

“She’ll run well I’m sure.”

Originally published asStephens set for another pop at Balak Cup

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