By Doug Ryan
Krambach Cup winner Mo The Great from Wyong and runner-up, Taree’s Casino Mondial, could fight out the Wingham Services Club Wingham Cup (1600m) at Manning Valley Race Club’s eight-race TAB meeting at Taree on Friday.
Wyong trainer Kim Waugh scratched Mo The Great from a similar distance race at Wyong on Thursday and had top country jockey Andrew Gibbons slotted in for both meetings. The six-year-old gelding won the Krambach Cup over 1600m in October, with Casino Mondial, trained at Taree by Michael Byers, finishing a close second.
Mo The Great has only had one run since, finishing third at Wyong on May 14 and is obviously ready for trying to capture another country cup.
Byers said his gelding’s last at the Kensington Track at Randwick should be forgotten as Casino Mondial was posted three and four-wide for most of the journey over 1550m on May 20 and pulled up with a sore shoulder.
“I have backed off on his solid work as he is fit and good in himself. I am not worried by his weight because he has carried 62 kilos and won. He is not a good traveller and loves to be at home.
“A mile is probably his best distance at the moment and he did lead all the way to win at Newcastle (previous start over 1850m),” he said.
If ever a galloper is a home track specialist, Casino Mondial has had seven starts on the Bushland Drive track for four wins, two seconds and a third.
Port Macquarie trainer John Sprague has two top hopes in four-year-old gelding Stylish Pattern and five-year-old gelding Dew Drop. Stylish Pattern should be ready to show his best at his fifth run from a spell.
Two starts back he was second to Sunreel at Port and then was third at Casino over 1400m last week in coming from sixth at the 800m mark on a track classed as not ideal.
“His races this time in have been too short; he needs a bit more distance and the 1600m on a better track should suit. He comes in with a good weight and should show his best on top of the ground,” Sprague said.
As for Dew Drop, it was being headed towards events around 2000m but had a minor setback with a stone bruise: “He is getting up in distance again and is on target for suitable races at the Grafton Cup carnival.
Sprague said he was happy to have local jockey Belinda Hodder on Stylish Pattern and former local top apprentice Cejay Graham on Dew Drop.
Taree trainer Ross Stitt is bullish about the chances of four-year-old mare But I Know which also had a forget run over 2005m on a heavy track at Coffs Harbour on May 22.
“She has drawn a good barrier for a change; the tide has turned. She over-raced terribly last start and was very wide all the way.
“From her barrier on Friday she should get a good position and show her turn of foot over the shorter distance; she is working well,” he said.
New local trainer Jessica McCusker from Gladstone won her first race at Taree’s last meeting with Komachi Force, given to her by Port trainer Tas Morton. The 27-year-old has also been given Morton’s six-year-old gelding O’Driscoll and it will be having its first start for her in the cup.
“The horse has shown many honest races and will be helped by the drying track,” she said.
Stitt’s gelding Fair Dinkum’s clash with last start track winner Lobban Hood in the Australian Hotel Wingham Benchmark 66 Handicap over 1000m should provide plenty of interest.
Last start winner Texas Storm, trained by Bob Milligan, gets its chance for a home track win in the Wingham Services Club Corey Brown Cup Benchmark 66 Handicap over 1300m.
RACE 1: Ciao Uno 1, La Jollie Fille 2, Hilarious 3.
RACE 2: Trojan Angel 1, Pollard 2, Cecilia 3.
RACE 3: Dunoon 1, Reuben James 2 Guest 3.
RACE 4: Shamamour 1, Obscene 2, A Million Dreams 3.
RACE 5: Fair Dinkum 1, Lobban Hood 2, Mr Polar 3.
RACE 6: Texas Storm 1, Jamaican Dream 2, Dundee Lee 3.
RACE 7: Bear The Crown 1, War Cry 2, Fantasy Eagle 3.
RACE 8: Mo The Great 1 Casino Mondial 2, Stylish Pattern 3.