By Mark Brassel
Trainer Gratz Vella believes the ‘new look’ Kanerupt can continue the stable’s white-hot form at Monday’s Wagga race meeting – the first of two Murrumbidgee Turf Club meetings for the week. MTC also race next Saturday with the highlight an ‘all-greys’ race, the Silver Spoon Handicap.
Tomorrow, Vella will be represented by Kanerupt in the opening event and Addchan (race 8) with both horses given solid prospects. The Vella camp landed a winning double at Canberra last Sunday with Orange Time and You’re Kidding Me.
“Kanerupt was a real handful early on but he’s a different horse now – a real racehorse,” Vella explained. “Earlier this year he ran three ordinary races and we were quite disappointed. But he then won easily on the Canberra Acton (synthetic) track and seems to have turned the corner since. He had a three-month spell and has come back with two wins and two placings from five starts.”After scoring at Wagga, Kanerupt was then well-backed when a closing second to Fox Tales in the Snake Gully Cup Day Flying on a heavy track at Gundagai.
“Kayla (Nisbet) said he seemed to struggle all the way and kept losing his footing. Once he got balanced up he finished very hard.
“The likelihood of a firmer surface at Wagga will be more suitable and we’re expecting him to go close – he has thrived since his last run, in fact, I think he has never gone better. We don’t work him that much as he seems to relish being kept fresh.”
Addchan was having her first start for six months when a solid third to Supreme Lad at Canberra on Melbourne Cup Day.
“We had pretty much given up on her – she had done little in four starts but John Kissick (jockey) said she gave him a good feel, so we persevered. She won four races last campaign so John was spot on. Her first-up run this time in was great and she’ll improve out of sight on that.”
One of the features on Monday is the Bragger Cup (1800m) – a Benchmark 50 race that highlights horses that would not normally run in a feature event: “The race is named after the galloper Bragger, who set TJ Smith on the road to stardom in the 1940s,” said MTC’s CEO, Scott Sanbrook.
“Bragger was renowned as a rogue but a young TJ – originally from Goolgowi near Griffith – got the best out of the galloper. The Wagga Diggers Cup was the Gold Cup equivalent in 1942 and was claimed by Bragger and Smith.
“This feature win was the first of hundreds for TJ, who went on to top every Sydney trainers’ premiership between 1953 and 1985 as well as secure two Melbourne Cups, four Caulfield Cups, seven Cox Plates and six Golden Slippers.
“And next Saturday is the Silver Spoon and being full of grey horses it’s a great spectacle. The race has generated considerable interest since its introduction in 2012. It’s also MTC’s Christmas Party Day with tons of free entertainment in store for the kids.”
Race 5 is Heat 6 of Racing NSW’s Rising Star Series with Jean Van Overmeire (11 points) leading from Olivia Pickering (10), and Mikayla Weir and Courtney Van Der Werf on eight points.