Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
The race is already a special event for him given that his second successive win last year made him the first horse in history to win the race twice.
It’s an incredible effort given that this weekend marks 151 years since the inaugural Ipswich Cup race.
While it would be a monster achievement to stretch his streak to three, he’ll need every bit of his strength to lump around the 58kg top weight.
In fact not only has no horse ever carried that much to victory in the Ipswich Cup, the most ever recorded was 56.5kg back in 1981 when Golden Rhapsody
Our Lukas went close to that last year when he got up with 56kg aboard and in 2009 he had a much more manageable 53kg.
While the weight is certainly a valid concern for trainer Robert Heathcote, it won’t matter at all unless he can find a way to turn around the recent lapse in form from the gelding.
After starting off his prep with plenty of promise he’s never really threatened sicne and it’s left Heathcote at a loss as to what’s going on.
“I can’t put my finger on it,” he said.
“When he came back from a break he ran second to Scenic Shot in the (Listed) Member’s Quality at Eagle Farm and only got beaten in the last stride.
“Then he put in three ordinary runs. I’m not sure whether the hard run against Scenic Shot may have flattened him or what but I’ve taken him to the beach to get him focused again but nothing seems to be working.”
His last run was in the Listed Strawberry Road Handicap at Eagle Farm on Saturday and he never rated a mention sitting back at the back the entire trip.
It’s a spot Heathcote says he just can’t win from and to make an impact this Saturday in the Ipswich Cup he needs to get the jump from the barriers.
“He missed the start and got back in the Strawberry Road and he can’t afford to do that in the Ipswich Cup,” Heathcote said.
“He was the first to win two Ipswich Cups but if he’s got any chance of making it three he’ll need to get out and get rolling and be in the first three straight after the jump.
“Whenever he misses the start he generally finishes well back. He can’t do that in an Ipswich Cup.”
One thing working in his favour though will be the return of rider Shane Scriven who knows the horse and has shared success with him.
That’s not enough to convince Heathcote though isn’t writing him off, but is certainly looking elsewhere for his best of the day.
One of his most in form horses at the moment is Gundy Son and Heathcote is expecting big things from him in the Listed Eye Liner Stakes.
“Gundy’s going really well,” Heathcote said.
“He came back from a spell and just got beaten at Doomben then came out and won the Listed race last start.
“If he wins again he might end up with the team I take to Melbourne in the spring.”
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