By Mark Brassel
A “monster” of a horse that was all but written off will be out to repay his owners’ perseverance at Wagga Wagga on Friday.
Cochranes Gap will contest the Terminate Pest Control Rising Star Series Heat (1600m) for trainer Craig Widdison and he admits he had given up on the six-year-old.
“He returned from an 11-week break at Albury and he surprised me with the run as I didn’t have much time for him,” Widdison explained.
“He’s a monster and just doesn’t go early, but he is a different horse since the break and this could be his best campaign.”
Cochranes Gap was sent out a $26 roughie at Albury (1400m) and was a conspicuous last – five lengths behind the second-last horse – just before turning form home.
But he unwound an eye-catching burst to finish fourth just over two lengths from the winner.
“His run was exceptional as he came through the worst part of the track near the fence,” Widdison said.
“He’s a funny horse as he doesn’t cop too much work. We tried him over 2000m and rode him positively but he just didn’t appreciate it.
“So, we’ve gone back to riding him cold and on his last run he’s going to be hard to beat and the long Wagga straight will suit him. He has flourished since that run.”
Widdison’s stayer Fish Bones Fry will be running in the Chris Heywood Racing Wagga Stayer Series Heat (1800m).
“He’s only had the two runs for me and performed very well.” Fish Bones Fry made a winning debut for Widdison when he fought on well to score at Albury (1600m) on December 16.
He backed up six days later with an eighth on the Wagga Riverside Track (1800m), but Widdison said to disregard that unplaced effort. In a slowly-run race, the five-year-old was trapped three-wide and jockey Simon Miller elected to take off at the 1100m to lead the field. Miller will again be aboard on Friday.
“He was made to work all the way and kept going only to be grabbed at the 180m,” Widdison remarked. “He’s going super and looks well placed coming back from a Benchmark 65 to a Benchmark 55.”
Blaze of Glory will be starting in the Book Your Wedding @ the MTC Maiden (1600m). Widdison’s mare is resuming from a four-month spell and held on well for fifth, beaten under a length by the runner-up at Wagga (1600m) on August 31.
“I’m happy with her and the 1600m will suit.” Nick Souquet will partner the four-year-old who will be having only her fourth start.
Widdison said a decision is yet to be made on whether Cash Crisis also heads to Wagga’s Summer Sprint following his luckless second at Corowa when he copped sever interference around the home turn yet once clear, ran home solidly
“He’s a horse that would lead so we’ve tried to teach him not to be one-dimensional as he can also tend to miss the jump.
“Unfortunately, we rode him in behind in third spot last time and he couldn’t get clear until it was all over and should have won. I’ve left it to the owners to decide whether he heads to Wagga.”