Recently inducted Hall Of Fame trainer Chris...
This weekend Broadmarsh-based trainer Walter McShane will saddle-up two livewire chances in the 2013 Hobart Cup at Elwick Racecourse, his duo ready to take on a crack field that features the lies of last year’s winner Geegees Blackflash, last start Summer Cup champ The Cleaner and in-form Victorian raider Fieldmaster.
Due to run as Hobart Race 8 on Sunday the $225,000 Group 3 AAMI Hobart Cup (2400m) this year drew 16 final acceptors, two of which represent McShane who vies for his debut win in the classic.
The best fancied of his duo is last year’s Mornington Cup winner Norsqui who has drawn gate eight with Victorian hoop Chris Symons travelling over for the ride.
“I’m happy to have engaged Chris as he is coming off a (winning) double last weekend,” McShane said of Symons who recently returned from a lengthy injury enforced break from riding.
“He appears fit and is reading his races well.”
Matsqui six-year-old Norsqui, third in last year’s Adelaide Cup, is a genuine stayer who will appreciate seeing the mile and a half for the first time since October.
They came off a good second to the Mick Burles-trained The Cleaner in the Summer Cup over 2100m at this track which was a much improved effort on their first-up seventh to the same horse over an unsuitably short 1600m at Launceston at the start of last month.
“Norsqui is having his third run back from a spell and most of his best form has been when he has been third-up,” McShane said.
“I have been keeping the horse ticking over and he’s now ready for 2400 metres.”
McShane’s other Hobart Cup 2013 hope is then known mudlark Geejayhaitch drawn wide in gate 12, apprentice hoop Bulent Muhcu, who was aboard Norsqui for their Summer Cup second, to ride.
“Bulent knows the horse really well, so I’m happy to have him onboard,” McShane said of the Turkish-born jockey.
Another son of Matsqui, veteran nine-year-old Geejayhaitch is likely in their final preparation before retirement and must improve dramatically on their recent runs, including a distant last start sixth in the Brighton Cup on January 13, if they are to be any kind of challenger here.
“He worked nicely on Wednesday morning and he has never looked better in the coat,” McShane said of the triple-figure warhorse.
“I have spaced his runs this preparation but he requires a soft track to perform at his best.”
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