CRAIG Martin accepted with Mt Rainier for both Sunday’s Guyra Cup at Armidale and a Benchmark 70 Handicap at Coonamble on Monday yesterday as he played something of a waiting game for both 1400m feature races.
The gelding, who resumed from a long spell at Quirindi last Friday following his Walcha Cup win at Armidale last year, has drawn barrier 10 at Armidale on Sunday (Guyra Cup) and barrier four at Coonamble on Monday.
Much of Martin’s final decision will depend on the weather.
“Mt Rainier needs a firm track,” Martin said yesterday.
“And they are predicting a fair bit of rain up there.
“But he does have a good record at Armidale.”
He also impressed Martin with his effort at Quirindi in the Lightning. His six-length ninth to The Jackal had him excited at the time and he reiterated that again yesterday.
“It was a real good run considering he’d had nearly 12 months off,” he said.
“He pulled up good too.”
He may have two Guyra Cup runners as well, with Mafioso drawing barrier two in the Cup.
“They both might run,” he said.
“Mafioso is a bad-legged horse though and I don’t think Armidale will suit him.
“He was caught three wide the whole trip in the Walcha Cup, had a hard run there and was beaten by about six there.
“Then I took him to Grafton but it was just too wet for him over there.”
He said both could run at Armidale on Sunday or Coonamble on Monday depending on the weather.
Fellow Tamworth trainer Sue Grills and Scone’s Luke Griffith also appear to be in the same “weather boat”.
Grills also accepted with last-start Grafton winner Monashee Woods at Armidale on Sunday and Coonamble on Monday as has Griffith with Star Of Dubai and Sugera.
Monashee Woods has drawn barrier nine in the Guyra Cup with stable apprentice Sophie Young booked to ride while the gelding has one at Coonamble.
Sugera drew barrier 11 in the Guyra Cup and Star Of Dubai five on Sunday while Sugera has barrier 12 at Coonamble and Star Of Dubai barrier three.