Comeback horse flying solo in Lismore Cup after year off
LAST year Gold Coast trainer Bevan Laming thought enough of Solo Saga to start him in the AJC Derby at Randwick only to see the horse run a distant last and pull up lame.
The horse spent 12 months in a paddock to recuperate and tomorrow has his fifth run back in the XXXX Gold Lismore Cup (2100m) as the trainer looks for a sign that the horse is returning to the promise he showed early in his career.
He gave a hint of that at his last start when he ran second in a Benchmark 75 over 2200 metres at Doomben 18 days ago with Michael Cahill aboard.
"The cup is another step up in class and we have to hope he continues to improve," Laming said.
"I thought he was going to make a really good stayer and I still don't know what happened in the Derby or what exactly the injury was.
"I had two vets arguing over it and all we know is the problem was up in his hip.
"He seems to have recovered and how he races in the cup might tell us whether he is on the way back to somewhere near his best.
"I ran him in the Derby on the strength of a second at Doomben on a heavy track so any moisture in the track at Lismore will not worry him."
Cahill, who already has two Lismore cups to his credit on Mack 'N' Me in 1997 and Chilled in 2010, has retained the ride in the cup.
Nineteen horses, including three emergencies, were left in the cup after acceptances yesterday with the Neil Godbolt trained Get On The Grange passing his barrier test.
"He flew out of the barriers," Godbolt said.
"If he wins the cup we might be heading to some metropolitan races with him."
Get On The Grange has drawn barrier 10 with Raymond Spokes to ride him.
Cessnock trainer Jeremy Sylvester accepted with Ballina cup winner Collar and the former Kevin Moses trained Plutorius.
However he declared Tegan Harrison as the rider of Plutorious after drawing barrier five but Collar, the new cup top weight with 60kgs, drew barrier 17 with no rider declared for him.
Plutorious is owned by Moses' wife Jenny and two friends and was sent to Sylvester earlier this month.
"Kevin thought the horse was better off away from Sydney while the carnival was on and all the good horses are racing," Sylvester said.
"The cup is a nice race for him."
Gold Coast trainer Trevor Bailey and his good mate, jockey Scott Galloway combine forces again after a luckless third in the Ballina cup with Avalanches.
"He probably should have won," Bailey said.
Galloway will need to call on all his experience with Avalanches, a front-runner, drawing barrier 18.