Novice Beaudesert-based trainer Ben Ahrens is hoping to silence the recent critics of his five-year-old galloper Spechenka when he saddles them up for this Saturday’s Caloundra Cup at the Sunshine Coast.
Danachenka gelding Spechenka Spechenka was one of 14 acceptors for the $200,000 Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) when the final field for the feature was released on Wednesday.
In an early blow for Ahrens and his horse, Spechenka came up with a horror barrier 13 draw for the Cup showdown, Ryan Wiggins engaged for the ride.
With top class rivals including Ipswich Cup winner Gold In Dubai, Murwillumbah Cup conqueror Warrior Within and last year’s Caloundra Cup runner-up Tinseltown in the mix on Saturday, Ahrens knows Spechenka faces a tough test but is remaining optimistic of a big form turnaround.
A winner of 10 of their 27 career starts to date, Spechenka will be fourth-up for the season in the Caloundra Cup and comes into the race on the back of a string of unlucky runs.
Following a strong spring – summer campaign last year that included three Brisbane city wins on the trot in November and a big black-type victory in the Group 3 Summer Cup (2400m) at Randwick on Boxing Day, Spechenka has failed to regain their purple patch.
“We’ve just been that far behind all this preparation,” Ahrens admitted.
“One thing after another has gone wrong.
“First of all he hurt his pastern from kicking the wall of his tie-up stall.
“Then he wrenched a fetlock and missed work.
“Then a workmate kicked him and badly cut his hock.
“That cut needed stitches and more time off work.”
After a five month break in the paddock Ahrens bought Spechenka back on May 28 this year where they ran a promising first-up second to Musashi Of Mieko in a 1625m handicap at Toowoomba carting a hefty 61kg, the tyro trainer originally hoping to get the horse up to scratch for a tilt at the Group 2 Brisbane Cup.
Next start was a flop for the stayer, however, Spechenka beating home just one other runner when 15th to winner Willy Jimmy in the Listed Strawberry Road Handicap (1600m) at Eagle Farm on Stradbroke Handicap, losing a plate during the run and dashing their chances of a Brisbane Cup bid.
In their most recent run, it was another disappointing effort from Spechenka who failed to overcome a wide barrier draw in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) on June 18 and only manage to cross over 11 lengths away seventh behind winner Gold In Dubai.
Now Ahrens will give Spechenka the chance to turn the tables on Gold In Dubai and get their prep back on track.
“I would have preferred no further than 2200 metres this week, but his work last Saturday over long ground was encouraging,” Ahrens said.
Depending on Spechenka’s Caloundra Cup performance on Saturday, Ahrens will move onto either the $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) on July 14 or the $150,000 Listed Queensland Cup over 3200m at Eagle Farm earlier on July 9 with the horse.
2011 Caloundra Cup Final Field & Barriers
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||9069631201||GOLD IN DUBAI||Mark Riley||Michael Walker||9||57kg||99|
|2||4138807F26||TINSELTOWN (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Chad Ormsby||4||57kg||99|
|3||15X3X94205||MR CLANGTASTIC||Les Bridge||Damian Browne||6||55.5kg||96|
|4||411151X207||SPECHENKA||Ben Ahrens||Ryan Wiggins||13||55.5kg||96|
|5||21X3702094||VIKING HERO||Michael Moroney||Chris Munce||1||53.5kg||91|
|6||7202471474||TEARY EYED||John Morrisey||Jason Taylor||14||53kg||88|
|7||111X770675||RAEBURN||Brian Smith||Scott Galloway||12||53kg||–|
|8||3733X04210||SMOKING CHIMNEYS (NZ)||David Haworth||Matthew Palmer||8||53kg||86|
|9||086121X210||ARCENCIEL (NZ)||Yves Seguin||Scott Seamer||11||53kg||83|
|10||X698048061||WARRIOR WITHIN||Bruce W Hill||Paul Hammersley||7||53kg||83|
|11||X0X7645014||REGAL GAZE (NZ)||Brian Smith||Eddie Wilkinson||2||53kg||79|
|12||5271156468||MISS MARTIKA (NZ)||Wayne Walters||Ms Melissa Walters (a)||10||53kg||72|
|13||1550242128||MALING||David Lawlor||Anthony Erhart||5||53kg||71|
|14||525X757903||ROSA DELAGO||John Symons & Sheila Laxon||–||3||53kg||62|