By Mark Brassel
Ballina trainer Steven Phelps is confident his two ‘Cousins’ can provide a great result in Monday’s $150,000 Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Grafton.
Phelps has entered My Cousin Bossy and My Cousin Jackie, and both are in excellent condition going into the big contest.
My Cousin Bossy has the solid record of four wins and three placings from just nine starts. The four-year-old has not raced since August last year but has trialled twice at Ballina and Grafton, finishing runner-up in both hit-outs.
The gelding had won at Eagle Farm a fortnight earlier, pulling off a sizeable $13 to $7 betting coup. And the form emanating from that race was franked with third placegetter Ziggy Willie heading back to Sydney and winning successive races at Canterbury Park and Rosehill Gardens.
“He’s first-up but is ready to go and trialled very well the other day,” Phelps revealed. “I galloped him this morning and he went fantastic.
Left: My Cousin Bossy (Matthew McGuren) scores with ease at Grafton last year. Image by - Trackside Photography
“With all this heat I’m quite lucky as I have my own property at Ballina and gave him a wander around the paddock and a freshen up with the water walker which he loved.”
Phelps is also hopeful stablemate My Cousin Jackie gets into the Country Championships Qualifier field. The mare has won three of her seven race starts including an easy three-length win at Grafton last November.
My Cousin Jackie finished eighth at Port Macquarie when resuming from a nine-week break but Phelps is adamant there were excuses.
“She wasn’t herself on a pretty hot day down there and was in a cranky mood. In the race she was also caught on the fence and it turned out the worst part of the track.
“She has done well since and if she squeezes into Sunday’s field I believe she’ll improve considerably as this is her pet distance. All is well at present and our stable is ready to fire.”
First and second placegetters in Monday’s Grafton Qualifier head to Royal Randwick on Saturday 1 April to contest the $400,000 Country Championships Final (1400m).