The Group Three Townsville Cup jumps at 9:12pm on Tuesday night. A great field has been assembled to chase the $25,000 prize.
The Townsville Cup was originally conducted over 643m and started back in 1981. The inaugral winner was Sharp Admiral. The Cup was first raced over the 498m distance in 1992, which was won by Michaelangelo.
In recent years, the Cup has been taken out by Mr Metz (2010), Velocity Regina (2011), Hanson Senor (2012) and Spirited Flame (2013).
The Townsville track record of 28.57 is held by Velocity Regina and was set back in August 2011. She was trained by Tony Brett, who has a finalist in this year's Cup. Brett has been a busy man flying over the country. ARG spoke to him as he was returning from Perth with Flash Reality. After cancelled and delayed flights to and from Perth, Brett was happy to be returning to the Sunshine State to rug up Exhibitionist for the Cup.
Are Ate is this year's fastest qualifier for the final and he has drawn wide in box seven.
Comments: Robert Britton (Trainer) – “Hopefully he will go well. I am certain he is better off in 1 than any other box. He has been struggling with injuries the last six to eight months and he is not the dog he was. I hope the box brings him back into the race. If it was eight months ago before the injury, I would be much more confident. He's there now and we can only hope it works out well.”
Comments:Michael Hickmott (Trainer) – “I am really happy with the draw. He is better from the inside as he gets around the corner better. I am happy with the dog inside him as he is not real quick out and tends to go straight. He has been trialling track records and if he gets going he will be a big chance.”
Comments: Peter O'Reilly (Trainer) – “I think he will go all right. It was a good run last week but he will need to come out good this week as he missed the start last week. He is fine and ready to go.”
Comments: Peter Simpson (Trainer) – “The draw probably won't worry him. To be a chance he's got to come out like he did last week and open up a big break as there's a couple of stronger dogs in the finish. He's a good chance of leading as he typically shows early pace. If he comes out and gets in front, he will need to rely on a fair bit of luck in the run home. I am happy with him coming into the race. He's had a walk on the beach to freshen up.”
Comments: Peter Simpson (Trainer) – “She might find it hard with these dogs. I don't think the fields have been as strong as this in past years. She will need a lot of luck. Any one of the eight dogs can win it.”
Comments: Tony Brett (Trainer) – “She will need to jump really good. I was happy with her run last week but a bit surprised she got run down. She will strip fitter this week. The wide box is good at Townsville if you begin as the inside boxes tend to bottleneck into that first turn. You can get into strife out of box one if you miss it. She is definitely in with a chance.”
Comments: Mike Chapman (Kennel Representative) – “We are happy he is in the final. I would prefer a better box as there is a bit of speed in the four and the six. He likes the inside but he has gone well from outside boxes. The dog is feeling good and we were very happy with his run last week. He has settled in at Townsville better than he did at Darwin.”
Comments: A consistent performer who isn't without a chance if she gets a start. Led last week but was run down at her first look at the track.
Best Townsville Times
This is a tough race and the Townsville club will be pleased with the quality of the final field. Are Ate (7) was outstanding last week and if he gets an ounce of luck early he will be hard to beat. The Victorian chaser Farmor Las Vegas (1) has a good record from box one but he will need to do everything right from that draw at Townsville. He overcame adversity in the heats to score and after a horrid run with injuries it would be nice reward for him if he can win.
The likely leader looks to be Pace Ventura (4). He sizzled early last week but faded at the end. With his early speed he has to be considered an each-way chance. Another with early speed is Exhibitionist (6). The Tony Brett trained chaser led her heat and was run down but Brett has stated she will strip fitter for the run so she is right in this.
The local hope, Post Box (2), could deliver the Cup back to Townsville if the race pans out for him. He loves the inside and loves Townsville which is a good combination. It won't be a surprise if he performs well.
Fred Sealey (8) is well boxed outside and, like most in the race, he was having his first look last week and can also improve.Yogi Blue (3) won well last week but did miss the start. He can't afford to do that this week. Glamour Row (5) won at big odds last week and is unlikely to repeat that effort again.