By Doug Ryan
Port Macquarie “freak” galloper Star Of Legs is out for revenge for a close second last year in the $25,000 Wingham Services Club Wingham Cup (1600m) at Taree on Friday.
The Tas Morton-trained six-year-old gelding was caught right on the finishing post by Taree mare Who Is Game, trained by Michael Byers, in last year’s cup.
“My horse has improved since then although it is a stronger race with similar opposition,” said Morton.
He describes his gelding as a “freak” as the galloper has been tackling races for nearly a year without a spell.
“He has a tough race but the next day he is kicking his brand off and has licked the feed bin clean.
“I have had him racing since July last year and he just seems to get better and better.
“I had my first win as a trainer back in 1969 but this bloke seems to do a treat after every race, he is a freak.”
Star Of Legs was an acceptor for the $30,000 Gunnedah Cup last Sunday but wet weather caused it to be abandoned, so the gelding gets his chance to go one better in the Wingham Cup.
Morton said his charge was blocked for a run at a vital stage when second in the $40,000 Gooree Cup over 1600m in a photo finish at his last start on May 6.
Before that the gelding was third to Newcastle galloper Beretta over 1550m at Canterbury on April 17.
“I thought that was a big run,” said Morton.
“My horse can be tardy at the start and then needs luck in running.
“I have engaged Matt Bennett who won on my horse at Ballina.”
The race is full of chances and one trainer conceding this is Byers as he tries to add another local cup to his big list and win back-to-back Wingham cups.
“I would like her to have had another run but she is ready to go,” he said.
Hall Of Fame jockey Robert Thompson rode the six-year-old mare when she was a 2.75 lengths third over 1412m to Newcastle gelding Fratellino at Taree’s last meeting on May 15.
Trainer David Atkins’ Fratellino franked the form with another all-the-way win over 1400m at Newcastle last Saturday and Thompson was keen to again be on Who Is Game.
Byers has won Wingham, Gloucester, Hannam Vale and Wauchope cups with gallopers Clune’s Rocket,Mondial Dame,Our Mister Lord and Cut A Caper and is always hard to beat on his home track.
“It is nice to win a local cup because the owners are on cloud nine after they win,” he said.
“It would be nice to win two cups in a row.
“This may be a more difficult race but she is spot on.”
Port Macquarie gelding Explosive Scene, trained by Marc Quinn, should be better suited here with Grant Buckley in the saddle.
Another to miss out when the Gunnedah Cup was abandoned is local gelding Single Spirit, trained by Ross Stitt, which is well served at the weights and barrier draw.
It rates a big chance at the distance after a handy fourth in the Gooree Cup.
After all, it has won about nine country cups and won prizemoney and bonuses of around $350,000 from 14 wins and nine placings from 57 starts.
DOUG RYAN’S SELECTIONS
RACE 1: Harnova 1, Imperial Eagle 2, Mowayuncle 3. RACE 2: Cool Baby 1, We’re Smokin 2, My Pot Of Gold 3. RACE 3: Not Surprising 1, Superlight 2, Sniponet 3. RACE 4: Bonita 1, Art’s Got A Gun 2, Fancy Nickers 3. RACE 5: Mr Bonjove 1, nitzel’s Image 2, I Wanna Be A Jeep 3. RACE 6: Bend It Like Benny 1, Chicago Stomp 2, Great Grats 3. RACE 7: Star Of Legs 1, Who Is Game 2, Single Spirit 3. RACE 8: Don’t Doubt Her 1, Sons Of Bourke 2, Kool Vinnie 3.