Tamworth trainer Cody Morgan has made an art form of patching up well-credentialled horses that have succumbed to injuries, and three of the four horses he will take to Muswellbrook’s Melbourne Cup meeting on Tuesday fall into that category.
The only sound horse among them, Anchois, is the one he believes will be his best chance to win a race – not that he is down playing the chances of the other three.
Anchois, to be ridden by Ben Looker, will start in the first race, the Mangoola Coal maiden for four-year-olds and upwards, and will be having his first start for Morgan.
“He is a young horse, injury free, has drawn well and this is the right race for him,” Morgan said.
“The funny thing is all my four runners are probably going to be short in the market yet three of them have had more injuries than I had riding in rodeos, given that I was very good at it.
“Anchois came to me in really good condition and had been well looked after by his previous trainer. I think he will run very well.”
Morgan’s other three runners are the former Victorian sprinter Strictly Legit which resumes from a long spell in the Schmetzer Racing Class Three (1000m); the former Godolphin sprinter and three-time city winner Ozark (Muswellbrook Coal Company Bowman Sprint) and Moob, which will have his second run from a long spell in the HTBA Class One (1450m).
Wendy Peel will ride Strictly Legit and Ozark, and her claim will give Ozark some relief from the 64.5kgs he has been handicapped with.
“Dad suggested I should scratch him but his work has been so good I decided to start him to see where we are with him,” Morgan said.
“He will get back to near last early and if he is finishing the off race like I hope he does, he may go to Brisbane. Otherwise he will go to the paddock.
“He has plenty of issues and that is why we got him cheaply. A friend of mine, James Carolan, bought Strictly Legit, and Dad and I took a share in him as well.
“He is a nice type and his work suggests he is progressing well but track work and trials are one thing and a race is entirely different.
“Moobi is in the same boat with a long list of injuries and had two trials before resuming with a third last month.”
That was in a similar race at Muswellbrook on October 23 behind Big Reg, beaten half a length after coming from ninth on the turn.
Stirling Osland hopes Rage Against can win the Mayor Cups (1750m) but this race is the fore runner to a more ambitious target.
Later in the month Rage Against will head to Rosehill for the $125,000 Country Classic over 2000m.
“The Mayors Cup fits in perfectly with the program we put together leading into Rosehill,” Osland said. “He has to come back in distance from his last two starts but after Tuesday he will have a nice little break before the classic.”
Rage Against has won his last two starts, both over 1900m at Armidale when ridden by Matthew Paget but Greg Ryan is aboard in the cup.
In the first of those wins he raced in fourth place early while he led all the way to win the second.
“He is one of those stayers who likes to roll along so I will leave it to Greg to decide whether to lead or take a sit,” Osland said. “But once he gets rolling he is very hard to get past.”