By Grahame Timbrell
The Gai Waterhouse-Adrian Bott stable will have three runners at Friday’s Muswellbrook Cup meeting and while their cup runner, Dee I Cee, is only rated an outside chance they could end the day with a winning double. They will also start Whiteley (Adam Hyeronimus) in the Prime7 Starmaker Two-Year-Old (1000m) and Coonawarra (Blake Spriggs) in the Pumps and Pipeline Class One and Maiden (1750m).
Whiteley, a $150,000 yearling buy, is on debut but was impressive when second in a trial behind stablemate Thunder Pace at Warwick Farm on November 21. He was wide and well back early but when asked for an effort went to the line impressively.
“Whiteley is a lovely colt and we have the Magic Millions earmarked for him,” the stable’s racing manager, Emma Pearce, said. “This looks a perfect race over 1000 metres to kick off his career. We also had him nominated for Rosehill on Saturday but decided he will go to Muswellbrook instead to try and get an early win.”
Pearce was even more enthusiastic about Coonawarra: “This is the perfect race for him,” she said. “He is third-up, a solid horse, spot on for this race and the extra distance is what he is looking for.”
Coonawarra, which cost the stable $600,000 at the 2015 Easter yearling sale, has raced eight times for one win and three placings and prizemoney of $31,140. However, his two runs back from a spell have produced close thirds at Newcastle and Gosford over 1400 metres and 1600 metres, providing a perfect build-up for this extra trip.