It’s the kind of strike rate any trainer would love to have, and in the case of Luke Pepper, it might well extend to Moruya on Friday.
Pepper’s horses are often a formidable force on the South Coast tracks at Moruya and the Sapphire Coast where has enjoyed multiple wins including Cup features. Friday’s Showcase meeting has drawn some quality horses and Pepper’s five starters look like being among the winners judging by recent form and his recent efforts.
The Canberra trainer has averaged a winner in every five starters in recent times and will saddle up some favourites and second favourites at one of Moruya’s biggest meeting. Only last week, Pepper finished with three winners and two placings form his six starters at Grenfell.
“The gates haven’t fallen our way which can make things a bit awkward, but I’m very happy with the five I’m taking there,” he said. “These Showcase races are always nice races to target. I have some going in first-up and others have had a couple of starts and are ready to show their best.”
One of those is Tag And Release who is fitter for two starts and will ear muffs for the first time. The gear addition is something Pepper feels can only benefit Tag And Release because of his nature.
“He has a fair bit of ability, but is a big kid still learning his craft,” he said. “He stuck on strong last time at Kembla Grange over 1300 metres and I think the ear muffs will help him relax. He has them on in trackwork and I can see him running a big race.”
The trainer and Sydney owner Pat O’Brien will be represented in the feature races by Erins Zar and She Zar. The duo is first-up and ready to go, according to their trainer.
She Zar has speed to burn, but has a wide gate where she opposes some fast country sprinters, while Erins Zar has drawn the extreme outside alley in the Batemans Bay Cup: "The track will be firm which is a bit of a worry for She Zar,” he said.
His other runners are Appoint Percy who will contest the Benchmark 65 (1650m) and The Revenant who is resuming in the opening race, the Maiden (1200m). The additional prizemoney will offer $30,000 for each of the eight races.
“It’s a big attraction to race there. The horses are ready, we just need a bit of luck and if we get a winner or two it will be a good day,” Pepper said.