WINNING COMBINATION: Trainer Kelvin Hickmott and jockey Terry Treichel will combine again for the $65,000 Slipway Hotel Ballina Cup today.
WINNING COMBINATION: Trainer Kelvin Hickmott and jockey Terry Treichel will combine again for the $65,000 Slipway Hotel Ballina Cup today. Gerard Walsh

Kelvin's wish for War Baby

KELVIN Hickmott got one wish when War Baby drew barrier three for today's $65,000 Slipway Hotel Ballina Cup (1600m) and last night he was offering up a silent prayer for his second.

Hickmott laid out two criteria for War Baby when he first nominated her for the cup.

"I will be praying for a shower or two," he said.

"She has to have a good barrier and I want a soft track or she won't start."

He got the good barrier but whether he will get the soft track is a different question with it upgraded again yesterday to a soft 5.

Despite that the Beaudesert based trainer has just about convinced himself that he should start her.

"This will probably be her last start over 1600 metres because she is becoming a bit dour now and eventually I think she will be a 2000 metre horse," he said.

"There is an 1800 metre race at Eagle Farm that I have pencilled in for her and she will need this run."

War Baby is one of the favoured cup runners with wins at Ballina and Eagle Farm, a second at Doomben and a last start third over an unsuitable 1400 metres at Eagle Farm last Saturday.

Terry Treichel has the cup ride, the third time he has been on the horse but he has one distinct advantage.

He has ridden War Baby at Ballina and won on her, when she won a Class Two last November.

The mystery horse is the former French galloper Mobaco, now trained by Matt Dunn and to be ridden by Matthew McGuren.

He goes into the cup first up and at his first start for his new trainer but Dunn is confident he will be competitive.

"The key to these European horses is not to train them like our tough colonial horses," Dunn said.

"If you put them through our normal system and give them plenty of track work they fall to pieces.

"You have to be softer with them not that the horse is not fit.

"He has had two good trials, he has a good first up record and I think he will be most effective from 1600 to 1800 metres."

Mobaco was brought to Australia after scoring seven wins in France and after a brief period with Gai Waterhouse was switched to Darren Weir in Melbourne.

His best effort for Weir was a fourth in the Tatura cup over 1600 metres in March and it was soon after that he was spelled and sent to Dunn.