Fingers crossed for some dry weather on Sunday
CASINO trainer Scott Cumming has his fingers crossed that the weather doesn't skittle months of planning for Landmarks to tackle Sunday's $150,000 Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Grafton.
Last year's Casino Cup winner has been off the scene due to a leg injury suffered in early September.
Despite not having a lead up run or official trial, Cumming is confident Landmarks has done enough work to be competitive in the right conditions.
"I planned this for months but the wet weather could see things go wrong,'' he said.
"I've nominated for the 1200m race as well to look at the fields and everything.
"It's going to be a big call starting at the 1400m first-up but I think he will do the 1400m better than he will do the 1200m.
"He's happy to get out in his own rhythm and put the distance on them.
"He's had a lot of long, slow work and swimming mainly. He's a high tempered horse so the calmer you keep him the better he works.''
Landmarks has won four of his 12 starts and Cumming picked him up from Godolphin in 2016 with just two runs under his belt.
He's had his share of issues but Cumming, who is a farrier when he's not training his two horses, eventually found out what was ailing the gelding.
"When I first got him he was a four-year-old and he had something wrong with his leg,'' he said.
"What I actually found out, besides that, was he had a very deep-seated stone bruise.
"I knew he was sore and once it busted out he blossomed and ever since then he's been a different horse.''
When nominations closed for the Grafton Qualifier on Tuesday there were some 40 horses vying for spots in the final 14 (plus four emergencies).
Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn has 16 in contention though it's likely about half a dozen will make the cut based on their benchmark ratings.
Dunn won last year's Qualifier with Perfect Dare, who started favourite in the Final but failed to handle a wet track at Randwick.
The 2017 Country Championships Final was won by the Grafton runner-up Free Standing.