Track specialist Coolotta will take an imposing record at Wagga into Thursday’s Ladex Constructions Ian Reid Sprint (1200m).
Coolotta has raced four times at Wagga for three wins and a second which is the best record of any horse trainer Paul Murray has had with a runner at the track. There are only six starters in the feature race with the scratching of Lady Henrietta, but any of them could win.
Murray said the 1200 metres is a little short for Coolotta but he is still expecting a bold showing: “His best distance is 1400 metres. He does go well at Wagga and it looks a nice race for him,” he said. “I think the distance is a bit short for him at the moment, but he needs this start before his next over 1425 metres at Moruya.”
At his previous start at Wagga, Coolotta won over 1050 metres and the form out of his recent runs is also strong with a last start second at Kembla Grange behind Coolcraft.
Murray will only start Coolotta and maiden galloper Fantasy Belle as he looks to close out the month with another winner. He has had six winners during August including the quinella in the Coffs Harbour Cup.
“It’s been good (winners) but it all comes down to having the right horses, placing them in the right races and having good staff,” he said. “I don’t mind sending them to Wagga from Kembla if I think they can win. The owners like to watch them go around and if they win anywhere they are happy.”
A home-bred galloper, Coolotta is raced by the Murray family and has won four and been placed at eight of his 21 starts. The five-year-old has drawn the outside alley with apprentice jockey Brock Ryan in the saddle.
Topweight Man of Peace will be fitter for one start since a spell and gains some weight relief with only 58 kilograms on his back after the claim for apprentice jockey Patrick Scorse. Baby Don’t Cry was ultra-impressive winning at Wagga on a heavy track two starts back before failing behind Fox Tales and Mitchell Road at his next start. Mitchell Road ran on strongly to finish second while Man of Peace was fifth in the same race.
Stablemates Gentleman Max and Benno’s Boy at a consistent level having not finished further back than fourth at their past 15 starts between them.
Murray will be satisfied if Fantasy Belle can break through for her first win after a horror start to her career: “She broke her pelvis at her first start and is on the way back. She has been placed twice since and I’m hoping she can win one and then have a break before the Christmas racing,” he said.
Wagga’s track is rated a Soft 5 after continual fine weather over the past few days.