By Tony Megahey
Southern Cups specialist Luke Pepper was assessing his Sapphire Coast form holidaying in Las Vegas, and is convinced regular rival Keith Dryden has the horse to beat in the TAB $40,000 Momsen Motors Bega Showcase Sprint 1200m on Sunday.
Pepper flies home on Saturday to finalise plans with the owners of recent powerful Moruya Town Plate winner Hello Schumann in the feature, against the Dryden and Collings favourite Beau Tirage. Rachael Hunt’s 1.5 k claim will reduce Hello Schumann’s 58k’s.
The ultra-consistent Beau Tirage has seven city placings on his resume, carries 57.5 k’s for regular regional premiership jockey Brendan Ward, and is ideally drawn in barrier three.
Barbara Joseph’s Wonderbolt, a Rosehill Gardens winner, and Randwick placegetter, adds depth to the new event that was previously the traditional Bega Town Plate.
Unprecedented prizemoney has racing booming on the South Coast. The two- day Bega Cup Carnival offers $400,000 in prizemoney.
“Beau Tirage’s city form is the strongest credentials for sure, but our old bloke was right back to his best winning at Moruya after we tried some different things,” Pepper said from the USA.
“I’ll be back on track Sunday because I’ve got others runners, including Marquee who will be hard to beat in the Cup. “I know I’m far better placed at Sapphire than in ‘Vegas it’s a tough town to win in.” Pepper joked.
Dryden, a multiple winner of the Bega Town Plate version, who has teamed with Goulburn’s Scott Collings for a spectacular first season, concurs with Pepper’s analysis.
“If Beau Tirage brings his city form, which I’m confident he will- he’ll be real hard to beat,” Dryden offered. “He just keeps finding one better in town. He ran a decent second to that Bryneich at Canterbury, and the opinion on track that day was it’s a potential Group sprinter.
“This horse is a tremendous trier, he just gives 100 per cent every start. “But in saying that, he’s still a class three sprinter in an open sprint. “So he’s not particularly well treated with 57.5 “He’s just paid the penalty for all those city placings without a breakthrough.
“Anyway, we couldn’t be any happier with him, but it’s always a tough race to win over many years, there’s always genuine quality in it.” The stable has outstanding prospects for a double as And There is More, in the eight event, ran a strong race in a recent Randwick TAB Highway, after impressive wins at Wagga Wagga and Canberra.
Sapphire Coast officials have been relieved that searing recent heat and temperatures have abated and are anticipating bumper crowds over the two days.. The track will be watered accordingly and both Saturday and Sunday will be a “good” rating.