Gold Coast trainer Marcus Wilson's decision to add blinkers to Meteorologist this preparation has been the key to the improved form of the seven-year-old who looms as the one to beat in Thursday's $60,000 XXXX Gold Lismore Cup (2100m).
Meteorologist won his first race in just over 12 months when he scored at big odds over 2200m at Warwick Farm last start on August 23.
He had also previously run well at huge odds in the Grafton Cup (2350m) in July and also finished a good second to I'll Miss You in the Ken Howard Cup (2000m) at Coffs Harbour on August 3. "We put the blinkers on him late in this preparation and it seems to have switched him on," said Wilson.
"His run in the Grafton Cup (8th) behind the smart Supply And Demand was a pretty good effort, then he ran a good second in the Ken Howard Cup.
"We took him to Sydney last time to get him on a bigger track because he just doesn't handle the tighter Doomben track. Corey Brown rode him perfectly and he got the money at $31.
"I've also been spacing his runs this prep, training him more like a sprinter-miler to keep some speed in his legs.
"He had three weeks between runs leading into his Warwick Farm win and he's had four weeks between runs going into Thursday's race."
Meteorologist has drawn gate three in the 16-horse Lismore Cup field and will be ridden for the first time by Ryan Plumb.
"He's drawn well and there looks to be plenty of speed in the race which will suit him," said Wilson. The son of Northern Meteor has been a great performer for Wilson and his owners who have had a very healthy return on their initial outlay.
"We only paid $8000 for him as a yearling and he's won eight races and just over $250,000 in prizemoney - he's certainly been pretty good to us," he said.
Thursday's Lismore Cup field also includes last year's placegetters - Collaboration, Scotti Be Gotti and Outstrip. The Brad Herne-trained Outstrip is having a third crack at the Lismore Cup after also finishing third behind Plutorius in 2015.
Brisbane trainer Barry Lockwood came up trumps with Cashing Up and Skytrek at the Ballina Cup meeting earlier this month and his hoping for an encore performance when the pair tackle the two feature events at Thursday's meeting.
Skytrek lines up in the Lismore Cup while Cashing Up runs in the $30,000 Lismore Workers Club Rousillon Showcase Hcp (1516m). Both horses will be ridden by top Brisbane rider Michael Cahill.
Cashing Up is coming off a strong Ballina Cup (1600m) win on September 7 and Skytrek won a 1900m Benchmark 67 Hcp at the same meeting.
"We had a good day at Ballina the other week and it'd be nice to do it again at Lismore," said Lockwood.
"Skytrek is obviously up in class but has kept on improving this prep and the step up to 2100m in the Lismore Cup can only help. He's matured into a much stronger horse this preparation and I expect him to be hard to beat."
Lockwood also expects Cashing Up to be hard to beat again, although the gelding does rise 6kg on his Ballina Cup win over subsequent Doomben winner Lordag.
"The 6kg weight rise is a worry - that's a pretty big jump - but he's obviously down in class and his win over Lordag in the Ballina Cup looks even better now that has horse came out and won in Brisbane last Saturday."