Ever since Michael Mulholland got The Sledgehammer he’s been trying to figure out why he’s been going better for him than his previous trainers.
The now six-year-old turned up to Mulholland’s Wellington stables with just one win from 18 starts to his name. And after a good spell he’s come out and won his first four races for his new trainer, including the Forbes and Narromine Cups.
“When he turned up he was sore and had a bit of tendinitis in one joint and he was sore in the back of the bulbs of his feet which took a couple of months to get rid of,” Mulholland said. “He’s improved every run and I’m not sure if we’re at the end of his run yet but we’ll see how we go.”
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On Sunday he tries to win his third-straight country cup in the Dubbo Gold Cup (1600m) and Kath Bell-Pitomac is riding him again.
She’s been on the So You Think runner in all four wins this preparation and will need to be at her best if she’s to get him another win from a wide gate.
“There’s a couple of horses of mine that just go well for Kath,” Mulholland said. “She’s a great worker, one of the hardest you’d ever come across.”
Mulholland said it would be a “day of luck” if The Sledgehammer and his other horse Devine Jewel were to win their respective races from the carpark.
“I just hope the gate doesn’t undo us. It’s the negative, the wide gate,” Mulholland said.
“We may have to travel an extra 25m to 30m more than most of the other horses, but if you get a bit of luck we’ll be right.”
The Dubbo Gold Cup is the feature race on Sunday.Source:News Corp Australia
Fast Talking is set to start favourite for Kody Nestor, who has set him for this race, alongside White Boots with The Sledgehammer also in the market.
“He’s had four weeks between runs so I’m not exactly sure how he’ll handle that and if he’ll be as fit as he was at Narromine,” Mulholland said.
“It’s a tough field, tougher than the Forbes Cup field, but they’re all beatable. Whichever horse gets the best run in the race will win it.
“There’s not much between about five or six horses.”
Divine Jewel has to win the sixth race from barrier 12 and Greg Ryan sticks with her after they ran a close fourth at Mudgee, also from barrier 12. Mulholland was going to send her to the mile race on Sunday’s card but asked for Ryan’s opinion first.
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“She pulls in her trackwork and I asked Greg what he thought and he said she might pull too much over the mile so we went here,” he said.
This time, from the same gate, Mulholland wants Ryan to ride more for luck rather than give Divine Jewel a tough run in transit even though it would guarantee her clear air in the straight.
“She drew the carpark and last start we had to travel wide so hopefully we can get cover this time and the big, long straight helps her,” Mulholland said.
“I just want a better run and not travelling deep the whole trip. If we can come through them instead of around them we’ll save a few lengths.”
ROBB PUTS FAITH IN ROGUE
Rodney Robb has a big team racing at Dubbo even though he’s winding down his stable.
Robb is looking after Clint Lundholm’s horses for a few months while he serves a suspension but he was always going to be racing Rogue Runner is the Picnic Championship (1400m).
The Casino Prince seven-year-old comes into the $50,000 race off a Benchmark 66 win at Mudgee which no doubt makes him one of the favoured runners going around on Sunday.
“I set him for it 12 months ago and his form is right going into it,” Robb said.
“I’ve won it a couple of times and would dearly love to win it again because I’ve given most of my horses to my son to train and I’ve only kept a few for myself.”
Robb also has Drummed Out going around in the Picnic Championship and he’s set to start about the $25 mark which is great value according to the local trainer.
Trainer Rodney Robb will send a big team to Dubbo on Sunday. Picture: Julianne OsborneSource:News Limited
“Drummed Out is another who may be low down in the Benchmarks but has found form in his last couple of starts,” Robb said.
“I just think he’s a hidden chance. Not many people know but he is a tough competitor who has come good at the right time. His run the other day at Cobar was good when he was in the worst part of the track and he only got tired in the last 20m.”
Thermosa has barrier 12 in the last race on the card, the John Nestor Flying Handicap (1100m), and will need to produce the race of his life to win.
But he does have form around Healing Hands, Kenny Succeed, Titus and Pearl Roan.
“It’s a very classy race but my horse is going great and he loves the track and distance,” Robb said. Racing is a great leveller. You can be good today and ordinary tomorrow.
“He’s drawn a terrible barrier but sometimes that can be in your favour because the speed horse go and you can slot in behind them in a good position.”
Originally published asDubbo preview: Hammer aims to nail third cup
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