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Luke Morgan Takes Them On With $41 Roughie In TAB Highway

By Tony Megahey

There’s ample logic suggesting that rising young trainer Luke Morgan can defy a traditional racing decree with promising Sapello ($41 on TAB) into a Rosehill Gardens TAB $100,000 Class 3 Highway (1800m) on Saturday.

The pre-trainer, former champion rodeo rider who trains just a small team at Tamworth, has boldly elected to jump three grades from a modest Quirindi maiden win with the four-year-old, More Than Ready gelding who carries just 52kg after the 2kg claim for in-form Jenny Duggan.

Sapello (Jackson Searle) lands the prize at Armidale. Image by Bradley Photographers

Racing purists will wince at the decision to task a maiden winner into a Class 3 and betting markets assessors will react similarly.

However, Luke reasons that Sapello, coming off a dominant win drawn wide with 57kg on a soft 7, has upside, drops 5kg to below the limit in similar going, and will “get” 1800m.

If Luke will have his detractors, he is operating at an amazing 19% winning strike rate and 40% the place with just six in work.

He’s coming off a Quirindi double, Sapello and Lady Mofeed who ran a creditable fourth in last week’s 'Gardens' Highway.

“I’m not kidding myself; it’s always been a tough ask even from a maiden to a Class 1, but he’s got that big weight drop, I think he’ll get ‘1800’ and he’s come on off a big win,” Luke explains.

“Likely he’ll get it on the soft side again - nice draw we’ll get Jenny (Duggan) to ride him off the pace with cover, first try out in distance.

“But whatever happens, he’s got some breeding and you’ve got to have a crack for that level of prizemoney while they’re eligible and he’s a progressive type.”

Sapello is new blood in a winning vein into an average episode containing several Highway regulars with moderate strike rates that logically have plateaued to their limit. And other contenders with disaster barrier draws.

There’s also near $47,000 to the winner and eligibility to win two Highway races. As Luke backs his judgement compared to staying at the provincials for a quarter of the prizemoney.

Luke who rides most work, and his elder brother Cody assist each other from neighbouring Tamworth properties, are enjoying highly successful seasons and also have numerous runners at Scone.

“I’ll be at Rosehill again, looks another top day, Cody will take ours to Scone, he owes me a few favours.”

Sapello is wider in the markets behind regular Highway contenders So Say You ($6) and Lord Desanimaux ($4.40 equal favourite) from the prolific series-winning stable of Terry Robinson.

At present Rosehill remains a soft 7 in fine weather.

View the final fields with full form & race replays for Rosehill Gardens here

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