By Grahame Timbrell
Trainer David Smith has called back jockey Koby Jennings to ride Distinctive Look in Monday’s $35,000 Coolmore Denman Cup (1280m) at Muswellbrook as he desperately tries to get the five-year-old back to his winning ways.
Last preparation Distinctive Look hit a purple patch of form which included winning two Highway Handicaps and the Central Districts heats of the Country Championships at Wellington. However, he finished a distant second last in the Championships Final and has turned in three poor performances since.
Jennings rode him in those three wins and also in the final and Smith is hoping that the jockey can put his finger on any problems the horse might have.
“Koby has ridden him several times and knows the horse," the Mudgee-based Smith said. “They get on well together. The horse got a heavy knock as he came out of the barriers in the final and I don’t think he appreciated the heavy track. That might have shaken his confidence and hopefully Koby can tell me if it has.”
Smith gave the horse a freshen up but in two runs since at Tamworth and Mudgee he ran poorly with other riders aboard.
“I gave him a spell and I had the chiropractor go over him and iron out a few niggles,” Smith said. “He is a horse that has always had niggling injuries so we have to manage him.”
Distinctive Look resumed with a second last in the Dubbo Flying when ridden by Anthony Cavallo and while Smith was down cast after the run Cavallo had some good news.
“Choc was pretty happy with the run and said the horse was only getting warmed up late,” Smith said. “I would like to run him in the Anniversary Highway in two weeks time but he will have to run well on Monday if we are to pursue that plan.”
This year’s Denman Cup has drawn by far the best field to face the starter in recent years and includes the lightly-raced but talented Another Aan, trained at Wyong by Les Tilley. In February last year Another Aan created a huge impression when the then five year old won his maiden at Muswellbrook on debut and then went on to win another three races in an interrupted career.
While the Wyong-based Tilley knows he has a horse with above average ability he has had his share of sleepless nights. The horse can be a problem at the barriers and is always slowly away and that was one of the reasons for his sixth in the Springtime Stakes (1100m) at Wyong on cup day four weeks ago at his first run.
Another Aan was only beaten slightly less than two lengths after coming from second last at the 800 metres: “The speed of the race might have been against him and missing the start did not help,” Tilley said. "The horse has always had niggling problems then he had a touch of colic after Wyong and missed a week’s work but he has to have his second start somewhere.”
SELECTIONS 1-2.05, MELBOURNE CUP DAY AT MUSWELLBROOK MAIDEN, 1000m: REPRIMAND 1, Hez Lethal 2, Penny Dreadful 3, Kettering 4. 2-2.40, MUSWELLBROOK CUP DAY 8TH DECEMBER MAIDEN, 1280m: APPETIZING 1, More Than Magico 2, Ranger Tom 3, Serious Dancer 4. 3-3.15, TWO RIVERS WINES DENMAN DASH, 900m: PEL 1, Miss Bunny Hop 2, Nicco’s Lass 3, Knotted 4. 4-3.50, HOLLYDENE ESTATE WINES CLASS ONE, 1000m: GENERAL SEPOY 1, Miss Imagination 2, As Yawood 3, Mr Tindall 4. 5-4.25, UPPER HUNTER TURF SERVICES CLASS TWO, 1280m: IN CAN HEAR MUSIC 1, Advantage 2, Gagosian 3, Mac’s Reward 4. 6-5.00, COOLMORE DENMAN CUP, 1280m: ANOTHER AAN 1, Puzzling Wonder 2, Exitozo 3, Hammoon Boy 4. 7-5.40, THE DENMAN HOTEL BENCHMARK 55, 1450m: PRINCE ROO 1, Bochy 2, Marathon 3, Wacky Doo 4. Best Bet: General Sepoy