CASINO galloper Landmarks got the job done in last week's Jacaranda Cup Prelude but trainer Scott Cumming fears main rival Lucky Meteor is primed to turn the tables in their return clash at Grafton on Wednesday.
Landmarks powered home from back in the field to beat Clang's Victory, Lucky Meteor and Knight Templar in the Jacaranda Cup Prelude (1100m) on October 30. Lucky Meteor and Knight Templar take on Landmarks again in Wednesday's SMEC Australia Jacaranda Cup over the same 1100m trip.
Last week's Prelude was the first time that Lucky Meteor had been beaten in five starts over the 1100m at Grafton, but the gallant John Shelton-trained sprinter did a magnificent job under 62kg to just go down narrowly in a three-way battle after a torrid run. He was trapped wide throughout after jumping from barrier 11, but has come up with the vital rails draw in Wednesday's race.
"I'm sure my horse will run well again, but he does go up 2kg to 59.5kg on Wednesday," said Cumming.
"When I saw the noms I thought Clang's Victory would be very hard to beat again but they haven't accepted at Grafton. Lucky Meteor did a terrific job from his wide gate in the Prelude and from his inside draw this time is going to be very hard to beat, even with his 62kg. Honestly, I really think we've got our work cut out beating him this time around."
Prior to his Prelude win, Landmarks had been racing consistently over longer trips in country cups, finishing second to Zamex in the Maclean Cup (1400m) during the Grafton July carnival, winning his second Casino Cup (1400m) on August 11 and then finishing second to Sniponet in the Bowraville Cup (1370m) two starts back on September 22.
Cumming then freshened him up to tackle the 1100m in last week's Jacaranda Cup Prelude.
"He did surprise me a little that he was able to win over the 1100m," he said. "I've kept him fresh and I think he'll race well again on a fairly quick back-up for him. He'll get back again and should be hitting the line well. Matt Paget is 'two from two' on him, so hopefully he can maintain that perfect record on Wednesday."
Paget's only two previous rides on Landmarks were in the Casino Cup in August and the Jacaranda Cup Prelude.
Grafton trainer John Shelton has again booked 1.5kg-claiming apprentice Cejay Graham for Lucky Meteor, who will still have to carry 62kg as he chases back-to-back Jacaranda Cup wins. Lucky Meteor carried 60kg to victory last year, downing Upstart by 1.5 lengths with La Dolce Vita another length away in third.
Lucky Meteor is also chasing his 14th career win (from 52 starts) and his sixth victory on the Grafton track.
Another Grafton specialist - Gold Coast mare They Call Me Rose - can boost her terrific record at the track and distance when she tackles Wednesday's CRJC Life Members Cup Benchmark 66 Hcp (1400m).
Trained north of the border by Trevor Whittington, They Call Me Rose has won four of her eight starts at Grafton - all over the 1400m trip. She her past six runs at Grafton this year have yielded four wins, a close second and an unplaced effort in the $50,000 Mothers Gift (1400m) during the July carnival.
They Call Me Rose adopted her usual front-running role at her most recent Grafton win on October 30, leading throughout to easily win a Benchmark 66.
Just like his stablemate Lucky Meteor, the John Shelton-trained Caro Cavallo has come up with the inside draw this time around after drawing wide at the October 30 meeting and could bounce back in the Benchmark 66.
Caro Cavallo had won three straight races at Grafton prior to his last-start defeat, beaten just under three lengths when sixth behind They Call Me Rose.