COUNTRY cups king, seven-year-old Taree gelding Single Spirit, is poised to run a great race in the $30,000 DFK Crosbie/AHA Krambach Cup at Taree on Friday before trying to win back-to-back Kempsey Cups next month.
Trainer Ross Stitt has been fine-tuning his victor of eight country cups by giving the galloper an easy fortnight after a torrid runs in two races at Port Macquarie over its cup carnival.
“I haven’t worked him hard as last start he had no favours from his wide barrier and I have given him an easy fortnight to get over the run,’’ he said.
“He should get the run of the race this time from his barrier (five) and he is very bright in himself.”
Single Spirit will be having his 50th start and so far has won 12 races and placed another nine times for a tick under $300,000 prizemoney as he tackles 1610m on his home track.
The distance could pose a query as in seven starts at the journey,the gelding has only won once and amazingly his 13 starts at home have only registered one win.
Single Spirit led most of the way to score in the Akubra Kempsey Cup over 1450m last year and he will be endeavouring to win that race again on November 4.
Stitt has engaged his new apprentice Alena Skerritt for Single Spirit,she having won on Blinkin Rules at Port at her third ride for him since moving from Gosford trainer Fred Cowell’s stable.
“She will ride him good,” Stitt said of Skerritt who has 28 winners to her name.
The field is a beauty as it mixes city and provincial winners with rising local stars.
One of the latter is four-year-old gelding Hippy High Ho, trained at Port Macquarie by Neil Godbolt, which won two races over 1508m and 1500m at his home track’s cup meeting.
Both times the extravagant striding galloper showed that the extra journey could be in its grasp,and although getting four kilos relief from Single Spirit, this is a big rise in class.
Wyong trainer Kim Waugh may have just missed winning with six-year-old gelding Dylan’s Rojo when beaten by again race rival Collar at Port over 1500m on October 7 but it is well placed with Andrew Gibbons in the saddle from the ace barrier.
Five starts back Dylan’s Rojo scored a win over 1500m at Rosehill on August 15 and is better off at the weights from Cessnock’s Collar, trained by Jeremy Sylvester and to again to be ridden by his mate Robert Thompson.
Others in the mix are Port’s Another Charger and Don’t Nicme, both trained by Tas Morton and Grafton visitor Cash Spinner, not far away in a start in Brisbane for trainer John Shelton last start.
Another Charger is bound to improve from its 11th to Collar as before a spell the galloper won at Canterbury and then two races at Armidale.
Five-year-old gelding Don’t Nicme may have found the 2000m of the Port Cup too far and it did win well over a similar distance as the Krambach Cup when it swamped rivals late at Kempsey.
All eyes will be on the return of six-year-old mare Sheza Gypsy, trained at Taree by Michael Byers, in the Hygain Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1005m, which during a spell has overcome the bad feet which dogged her performances last campaign, one being a close second to Cauthen’s Power over 1300m at Warwick Farm in November.
A blacksmith and work done by Steven Fell at Oxley Island Thoroughbreds during the break have worked wonders.
“She is out of bar shoes and is racing in normal shoes…they did a terrific job on her,” Byers said.
“She wasn’t her self last preparation and now her feet have been sorted..she has been galloping brilliantly and it is just a matter of whether she is race fit.
“I want to take her to Port to tackle a $30,000 Showcase race on November 10 and after that, all going well, she may go to Sydney for a 1550m race.
“One thing about her, she loves the track and has won first-up in the past.”
He is also bringing last start Wingham Cup winner six-year-old mare Who Is Game back from a spell in the Harrington Hotel Krambach Sprint over 1255m and she is being set for country cup races, such as the Harrington Cup.
“She has an awkward gate and may need the hard run.”
She will find plenty of depth in the race, one being Godbolt’s Fabry with Thompson aboard and another being Oscar’s Choice, trained at Wyong by Bob Holloway.
Doug Ryan’s selections:
Race 1: Sports Tycoon 1, On My Terms 2, Kelsha Begs 3.
Race 2: Roxette 1, My Lucky Eagle 2, The Blues Brother 3.
Race 3: I’m Bulletproof 1, Behest 2, Gypsy Jean 3.
Race 4: Shotgun Roulette 1, New Divide 2, Far Out 3.
Race 5: Uttar Pradesh 1, Duke 2, Gold Torque 3.
Race 6: Fabry 1, Oscar’s Choice 2, Who Is Game 3.
Race 7: Single Spirit 1, Hippy High Ho 2, Dylan’s Rojo 3.
Race 8: Sheza Gypsy 1, Miss Tripod 2, Difficult To Get 3.