Speed machine Lucy Rose and the ever reliable Cliff provide trainer Joe Cleary with his best hope of snaring the big double at Queanbeyan on Sunday.
Cleary has won the Cup and Thunderbolt on two occasions, but never in the same year.
He won the Thunderbolt in consecutive years (2002-2003) with Just Blitz Em and Ta Ta Tatiana then took the first of his Cups with Landlocked in 2014 followed by Hudson County.
That could change on Sunday with Cliff and Lucy Rose in peak form heading into Queanbeyan’s biggest race day of the year.
Cleary, who is Queanbeyan through and through, trains on the track and has a strong presence with the capable Bart and Hard Core strong winning chances in support races.
“It’s our biggest day of racing and it’s always great to have a few starters and better if we can win one of the main ones,” Cleary said.
“Cliff may be coming to the end of his preparation and the 2000 metres may be a negative, but it’s at his home track which is a bonus.”
Cliff won at Warwick Farm two starts ago and hasn’t finished further back than sixth in his past ten starts.
Lucy Rose runs a brave third at Randwick on Everest Day
The five-year-old is yet to race over 2000 metres and has won up to 1460 metres.
The top weight Dylan’s Romance is a recent winner at Hawkesbury and ran fourth at Randwick two starts back before failing behind the unbeaten Girl Tuesday on the Kensington circuit.
He has a big weight of 61 kilograms and will be ridden by heavy weight jockey Nick Heywood.
There are a host of chances in the Cup with Irenic having won two of his past four starts and weighted on the minimum of 54 kilograms.
Meanwhile, Lucy Rose has the score on the board to win The Thunderbolt after a strong last start third at Randwick on Everest day.
Boasting seven wins from 14 starts, Lucy Rose should have too much speed and stamina over the 1000 metres.
“Lucy Rose is a great horse for us and she will run the same race as she always does,” Cleary said.
The trainer will also be represented by Wagga Town Plate winner Coolring who is first-up under 64.5 kilograms.
“It’s a huge weight, but he needs to start which will help his fitness for a greys race at Flemington on Oaks day,” Cleary said.
Powerhouse mare Miss Liffey is first-up since August and won under the same weight of 62 kilograms when resuming from a freshen up at Wagga.