Trapper Tom will have to produce a career-best performance to win Sunday’s Cootamundra Cup (1600m) but he’s in the right form to do it.
Trapper Tom, a six-year-old by Krupt, has run first or second at his past four starts, all over 1400m, and he’s trying to win at a mile for the first time on Sunday.
Trainers Barbara Joseph and Paul and Matt Jones couldn’t find a reason not to send him to Sunday’s feature race.
“We thought it was a good race to have a go at,” Paul Jones said.
“It’s got a little bit of open company in it and a bit of restricted company in it. He’s working his way through the grades and I’ve been really happy with him.
“He’s maintained his form in the past three or four runs and he’s feeling well and looks tremendous in himself.”
Jockey Aaron Sweeney rides him again and it was he who gave the trainers another reason to send Trapper Tom to the Cootamundra Cup.
“Aaron said he’d run out the mile. With the wide gate (7) we’ll just bide our time. There’s good speed with Contaminated and Sensacova who will probably try and take it up,” Jones said.
“The track is a little bit on-pace but even if he goes back to last he’ll only be 3 ½ lengths off the leaders.
“We’ll smoke our pipe and hope they overcook it a bit. We’ll look for a suck run coming up to the straight.”
The top weight is the one to beat but Trapper Tom carries 6kg less than Jarrod Austin’s metropolitan performer.
“Carluca has good city form but he does have to come out to Cootamundra and handle a tight turning track which is a lot different from Randwick or Warwick Farm,” Jones said.
Smartkap has to races against odds on pop London Gal in the second race but Jones thinks she’s an improver and could really push the favourite.
“She’s a horse we’ve had a lot of time for but it’s taken a little bit of time to get it out of her,” he said.
“We applied the tongue tie before her last run and she galloped well and hasn’t gone backwards since.
“She’s really trained on. She has to beat London Gal but I think mine will take some holding out.”
She’s All In won’t race against stablemate Damagic in the last but go to the fifth race and get the dream run from barrier five with Sweeney to ride.
“She’s drawn well and she’s quite a quick horse who hasn’t had things go her way in her first couple of runs this time in,” Jones said.
“She’ll be pushing pretty hard to control from the front.”
Damagic, Supreme Kitty (race 1) and Sacred Spice (race 3) and all each way hopes in their races and one of them is due a change on luck in running today.
“Sacred Spice sat five-deep the trip first-up and still ran well. She’ll be better at a mile but will be ready to let down,” Jones said.
“Supreme Kitty ran his best races first and second-up last start so we’d expect that again.”
BUSH CHAUTAUQUA READY TO GO AGAIN
Alise was the country version of Chautauqua last start at Wagga Wagga and she’ll again be trying to storm home at Cootamundra.
She was six lengths off the leaders at the 150m last start but took many lengths off them in the final 50m to run second over 1000m first-up.
And it didn’t surprise her trainer Scott Spackman.
“She did it on Wagga Cup Day too. I expected that run. If it was 1200m she would’ve just won,” he said.
She gets her 1200m race today in a Class 1 Handicap and apprentice Ellen Hennessy rides the four-year-old again.
From barrier seven Spackman won’t want his jockey to ride Alise any differently.
“She’ll have to go back again because the track is tight. We’ll have one crack at them, they will be my instructions,” Spackman said.
“I don’t want to change too much. There’s speed in the race. We will probably be a little bit closer, but not as close as you think.
“She’s got a devastating spring on her and the times don’t lie. I’ve had her clocking home in 32 and 33 seconds.”
She just needs to handle the turning track and she can unleash with her powerful sprint.
“She just needs to get around the corner because it’s a long enough run in,” Spackman said.
“She keeps improving and stepping up to the mark. She’s still got to do it and she’s not real big.”
Rockopal is Spackman’s other runner, in a Maiden Plate (1400m) and she ran a career best race last start when second over 1200m.
She gets an important gear change in an effort to get the best out of her.
“We’ve put the winkers on so hopefully that sharpens her up a bit,” Spackman said.
“She’s still learning her craft. I used to ride her mother who was probably the fastest thing I’d ever ridden before her feet went on her.
“She just doesn’t know how to let go yet. She loomed up last start like she had them cold.”