Tonight at Launceston Racecourse John Luttrell’s classy six-year-old Geegees Blackflash will defend their title in the 2012 Tasmania Newmarket Handicap having won the classic first-up 12 months ago.
The Clangalang gelding was in flying form last preparation the $90,000 Listed Newmarket Handicap (1200m) the first of their five consecutive turf triumphs in Tassie during the summer.
Their other more notable victories included a six length romp over Norsqui in the Summer Cup and their Group 3 Hobart Cup (2200m) success in February.
Last seen running a brave second when Prevailing bought their winning streak to an end in the Group 3 Launceston Cup (2400m) on February 29, Geegees Blackflash will return to Launceston tonight and attempt to win the Tasmania Newmarket Handicap in their first run back once again.
“He’s a better horse this year,” their Brighton-based trainer Luttrell said.
“The reason he’s better this time is because of the good break from racing that he’s had. He’s more seasoned this time.”
Geegees Blackflash won the Newmarket last year as a $16 outsider from barrier five with 57kg.
Tonight Victorian jockey Peter Mertens will be aboard again in a comparative gate four draw but they will be forced to carry the 60kg topweight.
“He (Mertens) stuck with him all last preparation and he will do the same again,” Luttrell said.
While they carried 60kg for their Launceston Cup second last time out they do give plenty of weight to some class rivals in the Newmarket including Galibier (54kg) who has won their first two races this time in by a collective 7.5 lengths, the fellow David & Scott Brunton-trained Punctuate (54kg) who also comes off a comprehensive win, and Victorian raider It’s Crunch Time (56kg).
“Our dangers are certainly the Victorian sprinter (It’s Crunch Time) and Dave and Scott Brunton are always hard to beat in these types of races,” Luttrell admitted.
Further adding to the defending champ’s woes is the fact they missed their new season trial at Hobart last Tuesday due to a boil on their shoulder.
Still Luttrell is keeping his chin up and fingers crossed that things go Geegee Blackflash’s way allowing them to score an upset win – the horse currently paying around $26 in the Tasmania Newmarket odds.
“The horse has been in work a long time and while we would have preferred to get the trial into him we are still confident he will be very competitive on Wednesday night,” Luttrell said.
“I believe the horse has come back bigger and stronger than ever and hopefully he can have another great season.”
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