Chasing a third strike: Sapphire City’s glittering prize

STEVE Hodge is hoping Strike Me Lucky can race well fresh and win him and owners, Linda and Barry Pont, a third Inverell Cup today.

The four-year-old Newcastle gelding returns from a spell in today’s $30,000 Fencing North West 2014 Inverell Cup (1400m) to jump from barrier two with Alex Stokes on board.

Newcastle trainer Hodge has fond memories of Inverell and the Sapphire City’s New Year’s Day Cup meeting.

He won the 2009 Inverell Cup with Geigeron and while the January 1, 2010 Cup meeting was washed out, Hodge returned to Inverell on the June long weekend to win the re-scheduled Inverell with Geigeron again.

“He’s the reason we’re going back (with Strike Me Lucky),” Hodge told The Leader.

“Barry and Linda Pont owned Geigeron and own Strike Me Lucky as well. They actually own three with me and all three are going up.”

Hodge said it was timely the three were all right to run and had suitable races at the cup meeting as well.

“We had such a good time up there, we’ve always wanted to go back,” Hodge said.

“A couple of months ago Barry and Linda said it would be nice to go back and it’s nice that’s worked out.”

He said Geigeron had been a fabulous campaigner for the stable.

He won five races in Sydney of a Saturday,” he recalled.

“He won the two Inverell Cups and a Moree Cup as well. Just got beaten a short half head by one of Albert Stapleford’s in another Moree Cup too.

This bloke (Strike Me Lucky) is not up to his class yet, but he’s going well and he does race well fresh too. The only thing is he hasn’t had a trial this time, but he did win two mile races and a 2200m at Warwick Farm last time in.

“And Alex (Stokes) is going up to ride him too.”

Last January 1 Stokes won the Wallabadah Cup aboard Husisname but heads further north for what would be a second Inverell Cup for her.

“Morgan Butler won one of them (on Geigeron) and Alex the other,” Hodge said.

“He will run well fresh. Lucky Ima Cugat is a chance too. He’s had three runs back and his run last start was real good at Coffs. He’s also looking for a mile too.”

o More Inverell and Wallabadah Cup stories Page 26. Full fields and form for the two Cup meetings in Sport Details.

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