By Mark Brassel
A local trainer with just a handful of horses is confident of taking out the revered $35,000 Cessnock Leagues Club Jungle Juice Cup at Cessnock on Friday.
Dean Jackson, 34, believes his mare Annandale Lass can continue her excellent form and entice a few additional horses into his stables: “There's always room for more!” Jackson declared.
“I have yards with shelters and not boxes so my horses are free to run around and they love it. This mare is becoming a great advertisement for me so I hope she keeps on performing like she has.”
Annandale Lass has been a much-travelled mare, starting her career at Murray Bridge then Morphettville (SA) before being trained at Cranbourne (Vic).
“She was at Cessnock with Graham Payne (trainer) a couple of years ago as a five-year-old. We offered to buy her for $8000 but he wanted more so we declined.
“She then went back to Adelaide but didn’t really fire and was again on sale so we ended up getting her for $6000. My brother Brett bought her for me to train and she’s won over $40,000 for us.”
Annandale Lass will be out to atone for her fighting third in last year’s Jungle Juice Cup when prepared by Payne, after the mare failed to handle the final bend and ran off the track.
The seven-year-old has just the one blot on her recent copybook record when last in the Bowraville Cup two starts back on September 23.
“We found out she was in season and she didn’t go a yard,” Jackson explained. “It’s also a tight track so she didn’t fancy going around the corners.”
That failure followed her big win in Muswellbrook’s Godolphin Tiara on September 10. Annandale Lass showed she is back on track last time out with an excellent second to Another Aan in last Monday’s Denman Cup at Muswellbrook.
“There’ll be plenty of speed in the Jungle Juice Cup – there always is – so that will suit her down to the ground.
“I can tell you she is a tough horse who is going fantastic and will give this race an almighty nudge. I’m confident she’ll be in the finish.”
Vad Bolozhinskyi partnered Allandale Lass last time out and “depending on her weight” will retain the ride on Friday.
This is the first year the Jungle Juice Cup will be run in the spring with the race having been moved from its usual July timeslot.
Legendary jockey Robert Thompson is likely to ride in the race and will be chasing his 12th Jungle Juice Cup, having finished runner-up last year aboard Three Sheets.
Wine Country Race Club has a bus service operating to Cessnock from Newcastle Racecourse for only $22 return and includes general entry, with Newcastle Jockey Club members free.