By Tony Megahey
Previous TAB Highway performance and natural progression makes Scone mare Lunar Duchess hard to beat in a $60,000 1200m episode at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Trained by prolific southern premiership winner and dual Country Championship qualifying winner Brett Cavanough, the striking grey was considered an unlucky second in a Royal Randwick Highway in October to talented Fifteen Sunflowers.
Left: Lunar Duchess - will prove hard to beat in Saturday's TAB Highway Handicap at Rosehill Gardens. Image by - Bradley Photographers
The (Murtajill-Madeittothemoon) four-year-old is primed third-up on Saturday for Cavanough, who has relocated successfully to Scone from Albury with a big team. The winners have been regular for Cavanough who is operating from Greg Bennett’s former stables after Bennett took up a Queensland appointment with the international Aquis organisation.
Lunar Duchess indicated a productive return with a photo second at Muswellbrook recently and carries 55.5kg on Saturday for Tommy Berry.
“She’s a really nice progressive mare; has come back stronger and hopefully this is on the way to better races, because she’s been unlucky not not to have won a couple more,” Cavanough offered.
“She’s so honest and consistent, but the key is getting her to relax and settle better. With Tommy we certainly won’t be revving her up coming off mainly 1000m metre form. But she’s fitter, suited up to 1200m and from the good draw, Tommy will be able to position her. And yep, her Randwick second says it’s a suitable race.”
Lunar Duchess, an on-pacer off 1000m placings, is super consistent earning prizemoney in all six race starts and opened the $4.60 favourite on TAB fixed odds before firming to $4.20.
Cavanough has won 11 Southern Districts premierships, two NSW Country titles, the Wagga Wagga Country Championship leg in 2015 with subsequent Scone Guineas winner Loved Up, and last season’s regional leg with Steakandbernaise.
“There’s some major meetings coming up that will indicate how we’re going up here, but people know where we are and we’ve been winning our share of late.”
The Dryden-Collings Atlantic Sentinel is a $6 chance on the strength of a Rosehill Highway second to talented Quatronic in September and a recent fourth in a Randwick episode to Mercurial Lad.