By Mark Brassel
Tamworth trainer Cody Morgan may spring the surprise of the Country Championships on Sunday in the $50,000 Wild Card (1280m) at Muswellbrook.
“I always get asked about the good one but not about the others,” Cody said.
The trainer was referring to talented galloper Art D’amour who won his first four races before finding a tough run on the heavy surface a bit beyond him, when unplaced in the Scone Country Championships Qualifier.
Left: The smart Art D'amour (Aaron Bullock) after winning at Armidale. Image by - Bradley Photographers
“He is obviously very smart and we’re hoping he’ll run one-two at Muswellbrook to get into the Final. But we’ll be taking two horses to the Wild Card and I can tell you there’s not much between them,” Cody revealed.
Pelerin, an ex-Darley galloper, is also being aimed at the Country Championships having had seven starts for three wins and just as many placings.
“He ran third on Tuesday (Tamworth) at just his second start in 12 months and he will improve greatly. Don’t be surprised if he runs a huge race in the Wild Card at Muswellbrook.
“There’s been no rush and we have taken our time with him as Dad (Glenn) and I own him so there’s no owner pressure.”
No doubt Pelerin will be sent out as one of the roughies at Muswellbrook while Art D’amour will be at the top end of the betting market.
“His (Art D’amour) run in the Scone qualifier (when 10th to Caerless Choice) was still very good. He was four-wide the entire trip on a heavy track which he is not keen on. And he was still a winning chance at the 250-metres and just tired nearing the line.
“We trialled him at Tamworth the other day and he was fantastic – he simply toyed with his rivals and has bounced back to his best. There’s no doubt he has a touch of class which will carry him a long way.
“Ben Looker won on him in the Scone Championships Prelude and he will retain the ride. I’m still searching for a jockey to partner Pelerin.”
Art D’amour will follow a similar path to the inaugural winner of the Country Championships (2015), Artlee. That horse finished seventh in the Qualifier before winning the Wild Card and going on to victory in the Final for trainer Todd Willan and jockey Mitchell Bell.
“If we don’t qualify both horses I’m just hoping we at least qualify one for the Final. Just to have a runner at Royal Randwick in a $400,000 race will be out of this world.”