By Mark Brassel
Braidwood mare Romance Can Costa is on the comeback trail at Wagga this Friday following her amazing progression last campaign.
The five-year-old only broke through in maiden company in March but then powered through her grades, culminating with a city win during the winter.
“It all took a while as she’s a really slow learner,” explained trainer Aaron Clarke. “But to go from being a maiden class horse to winning in town in the one preparation was extraordinary.”
Romance Can Costa will be resuming from a 3½ month spell in Friday’s feature at Wagga, the $35,000 Stan Sadleir Stakes (1400m).
“We were in a quandary; she would get back in the field and run on strongly without winning but if we tried to ride her a bit closer, she would then over-race and give herself no chance,” Clarke said.
“She is nice and fresh and had a jump out at Goulburn the other day over 800 metres and went great.
“At this stage the 1400 metres may be a touch too short for her, but she is a healthy, happy horse and they wouldn’t want to overcook it in the lead.
“If they go fast early then there is every chance she could finish right over the top of them,” Clarke warned.
Kayla Nisbet has ridden Romance Can Costa in her past seven starts and will again take the reins on Friday.
Murrumbidgee Turf Club’s Wagga meeting has some excellent support races including the $35,000 Mountaineer Cup (2500m) – a heat of the Wagga Stayers Series – and the $30,000 Bragger Showcase Cup (1600m).
Last year Rock on Zariz won the Stan Sadleir Stakes and only last weekend returned to form by winning the Bombala Cup, her first win since that day.
“The Stan Sadleir Stakes provides a pathway to greater riches in the Southern Districts during the spring,” said MTC’s CEO, Scott Sanbrook.
“Wagga will host the event at Friday’s Showcase meeting with the winner exempt from ballot for the $70,000 Snake Gully Cup at Gundagai on November 16.
“The Sadleir Stakes is prestigious in its own right, but the automatic entry to the Snake Gully Cup adds further importance to the event.”
The race honours one of the MTC’s greatest ever administrators.
“Stan was both a long-standing committee member of MTC and the treasurer of the Southern District Racing Association for 35 years,” Sanbrook said.
“After serving as secretary of the Wagga Diggers Race Club from 1947 to 1949, Stan’s involvement with the MTC extended from 1960 to 1984 and he was awarded life membership of the MTC after stepping down from the committee.
“Australian Jockey Club presented Stan with the prestigious James Carr Trophy in 1989 for Major Individual Contribution to NSW Country Racing.
“A highlight for Stan came in 1997 when he received an Order of Australia Medal for his services to racing, war veterans, sport and the community.
“Outside racing, Stan was prominent in the community through his deeds with the Wagga RSL Club, the accountancy profession and cricket.”
Affectionately known as “Stumpy”, Stan passed away on 1 September 2010 – his 101st birthday.