By Ray Hickson
Classy country mare Lake Lugarno is proving to be one of those good problems for her trainer Barry Molloy so he doesn't mind going on a road trip with her.
The Forbes based trainer will make the six hour, almost 400km, journey to Warwick Farm on Friday – and back again after the race – as the mare chases successive city wins in the TAB Handicap (1100m).
It’s something Molloy, who turns 80 in April, accepts as a country trainer who has a city class horse though he’s found Lake Lugarno herself is doesn't like an overnighter and is very much a day-tripper - hence the lengthy journey.
“It’s not that she’s a bad traveller, she’s a good traveller, but when she gets there she won’t settle into strange environments,’’ he said.
“I can’t see any benefit to taking her down the day before, if she didn’t eat and didn’t drink it’d be more of a hindrance than the travelling.
“It’s a good thing to have a horse like her but it’s a bit of a bloody headache.’’
Lake Lugarno has won nine of her 17 starts, missing a top three finish just once, and has finished third in all three starts at Warwick Farm.
Lake Lugarno cruises to an easy all the way win at Canterbury - January 5
A freak storm on race day during her last visit to the Farm, on December 6, arguably cost her a city win but she made up for it with an all the way victory at Canterbury a month later.
“We got down there and a storm came and it was a heavy 10 by the time her race came on,’’ Molloy said.
“We were there but we probably shouldn’t have started her and as it turned out it was probably the track that stopped her that day.’’
Apprentice James Innes Jnr retains the ride on Lake Lugarno after steering her home at Canterbury and it could be a significant race for him as he requires only one more city win to reduce his claim to 1.5kg.
Lake Lugarno burned early in the 1100m event at Canterbury, as Punters Intel showed, running 10.38 from the 1000m to the 800m to take control and with a last 200m of 11.85 (0.01 off the fastest last 200m) it was always going to be impossible to catch her.
Molly said he was rapt with the way Innes handled the five-year-old and heads to Sydney expecting nothing less than another genuine performance.
“I think she has a very good chance. James will claim 2kg so that’ll bring her down to 59.5kg,’’ he said.
“He said he didn’t have to do much on her the other day, just had to steer her.
“She’s one of the better ones I’ve had and I’ve been lucky enough to place her right. If you space her races out it suits her so I don’t change much.’’