VETERAN Taree racehorse trainer Ross Stitt has bitter sweet memories of the last time he won a Casino Cup.
The year was 1991 when the race was over 1900m.
The Stitt-trained Mighty Digger and General Parker crossed the line locked together. The judge couldn’t separate the pair.
However, on the return trip to Taree tragedy struck.
“A semi-trailer ran right up the back of the float just outside Kew. It was a foggy evening,” Stitt recalled. “The impact broke Mighty Digger's neck and killed him stone dead.
“Fortunately the float driver wasn’t badly injured but we lost Mighty Digger. The other horse on the float survived.”
Stitt, who was travelling some kilometres behind, was waved down at the accident.
The master Taree horseman said while he has had previous runners in the Beef Week Cup, Sunday would be his first runner in the Casino Cup since his ill-fated trip twenty three years back.
Still will saddle up Single Spirit in the $25,000 Express Examiner Casino Cup (1400m).
Single Spirit, a five-year-old gelding by Not A Single Doubt, has been in superlative form recently.
After placing in the Wauchope Cup, Single Spirit was a great third to Myamira in the South Grafton Cup (1600m) at Grafton on July 6. The gelding, out of a half-sister (Stunning Spirit) to Stitt’s Ramornie winner Youthful Jack, then scored a strong win in the Sawtell Cup (1515m) at Coffs Harbour on July 27.
The gelding was then beaten narrowly by stablemate Southern Shimmer in the Coffs Harbour Cup (1600m) on August 7 when he hit the front at the 250m.
“He ran a great race in the Coffs Cup. Ran out of his skin,” Stitt said. “He’s going really well at the moment and pulled up great after the run.
“I couldn’t be happier with him.
“He’s been up for a while but is a ball of muscle. He looks a treat and his work’s been nice. His piece of work on Wednesday was very pleasing.”
Stitt has engaged three kilo claimer Andrew Adkins for Single Spirit.
Adkins was aboard when Single Spirit won the Sawtell Cup.
“The allowance will help,” Stitt said. “The boy is riding very well and he’s won on him which is certainly a bonus.”
Stitt said provided Single Spirit continues in his rich vein of form he was considering the $30,000 Moree Cup on September 7 for the gelding.