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Country Trainers Chase Big Pickings At Darley Scone Cup Carnival

By Geoff Newling

Quirindi trainers Scott Thompson and Geoff O’Brien embody the hopes of country trainers lining up at Scone for some of the $2million prizemoney on offer at the two-day Darley Scone Cup Carnival this week.

They hope to be able siphon a little of that record booty to their small stables in the Hunter and North West Racing Association.

Left: Exitozo - represents a strong chance at Scone for trainer Scott Thompson. Image by - Bradley Photographers

Thompson has entered two-year-old filly Foxwedge Phoebe in Friday’s $100,000 Inglis 2YO Challenge (1100m) and Exitozo in the $80,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Noel Leckie Country Cup (1400m), while O’Brien entered Blood Red Moon in the $200,000 Darley Scone Cup (1600m) as well as the Country Cup.

Today she drew barrier two in the Scone Cup and four in the Country Cup but is fourth emergency in the Scone Cup. The five-year-old daughter of Duporth, with five wins in a 26-race career, has won at Scone.

“Came down the outside to win by two or three lengths,” Geoff O’Brien recalled. “I don’t think she’ll get a run in the Cup but it would be nice to give it a crack. Can you organise it for me,” he asked jokingly.

“I did nominate her for the Dark Jewel Classic on Saturday as well but she won’t get a run in that either. Better we look at the Country Cup. It’s a good race too. I think she ran fourth or fifth in it a few years ago.”

He’s just happy to be racing at Scone in this carnival “with a lot of nice horses around”. Friday’s meeting is more of a day for country trainers with Saturday’s meeting a standalone metro meeting with major Group races, agreed Scott Thompson.

He has a nice little filly, Foxwedge Phoebe, running in the $100,000 Inglis 2YO Challenge (1100m): “She’s not up to them at this stage,” Scott Thompson said. “She needed a trial.”

A daughter of Foxwedge she has had just the one run, an eighth at Scone back in January. She has drawn barrier seven in a field where the Kris Lees-trained Excelamour looks a good chance via two seconds in a short career. Her impressive second in the recent Miss Finland 2YO at Muswellbrook was an eye-catcher.

Fellow Newcastle trainer Paul Perry won that race with Leaven Of Malice and also has three runners – Matchfox. Cozursmart and Expanding Love – in the Inglis 2YO Challenge.

Scott Thompson’s best hope is Exitozo in the $80,000 Pryde’s EasiFeed Noel Leckie Country Cup (1400m). He has won four of his 10 starts and comes off two good seconds at Warwick Farm and Newcastle. The five-year-old gelding son of Excites has won at scone too, successful there in a benchmark 60 over 1450m on March 26 when he carried 58.5kg.

Andrew Adkins’s 2kg claim drops him to 51kg and they will jump from barrier two. Scott had hoped he might make a Country Championships horse.

“His first run back from a spell he won, everything was going good but it went bad after that. I had to rush to get him right for the Country Championships. He was one run behind in everything. He was unlucky at Warwick Farm and Newcastle as well. Just hope he gets a nice run at Scone.”

If he does he believes he can be finishing as good as anything in a race where Tamworth Cup winner Timeless Prince will be rattling home from back in the field for Tony Newing.

Fellow Quirindi Country Cup runner, Blood Red Moon, also likes to dash home late while Tamworth-trained Hammoon Boy (Sue Grills) and Scone-trained After All That (Rod Northam) will up front. Indeed Hammoon Boy led most of the way in the Tamworth Cup to run third behind Timeless Prince and Mapmaker while After All That was a gallant second in the Country Championship Final at Randwick to Free Standing.

Back at home on his home track will be a bonus for the od Northam-trained gelding, who also has a good chance in the Inglis 2yo Challenge with Born In Barcelona.

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