James McDonald will be hoping for a quick return...
Wagga Wagga based trainer Tim Donnelly just missed out on securing his home town cup the past two years running with smart stayer Devised and is now eyeing a different country cup win with the galloper to target the 2013 Grafton Cup in July.
The now five-year-old Galileo gelding has won five of their 18 career starts with their most notable victories being in last year’s Corowa Cup and the Murrumbidgee Cup at Wagga in April this year.
Following their Murrumbidgee Cup success Donnelly backed Devised up in the Listed Wagga Wagga Gold Cup (2000m).
The horse came devastatingly close when a nose away second to Scream Machine in the race emulating his efforts from 12 months earlier when the same distance away runner-up to Coliseo in the 2012 Wagga Cup after jumping from the outside barrier 16 of 16.
It was a heartbreaking moment seeing the official photo finish result for the second year in a row, Donnelly truly believing they had secured success last start.
“The first year we weren’t sure, we thought we might have won, but the other day we did think he had won,” he said.
Having been turned out after that effort last winter Devised will stay in work this time preparing for a shot at a black type victory in the $150,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) on July 11.
Their next lead-up happens this weekend with Donnelly opting for a $80,000 Benchmark 95 Handicap over 2400m at Caulfield on Saturday over the $100,000 Listed WJ McKell Cup (2400m) at Royal Randwick in what will hopefully be a confidence boosting victory for the honest runner.
“It is a weaker race and John Kissick is going to ride him and he can claim in the Caulfield race but can’t claim in the McKell Cup,” Donnelly explained.
“His true weight would have been 51-1/2 kilos in the McKell Cup but the limit is 54.”
Along with the class and the weight, Devised likely to get two kilos off his 56kg allocation with Kissick’s claim, Donnelly also said the weather was a contributing factor to his decision with the wet weather in NSW likely to work against his horse in his first look over further than 2100m.
“They’ve also forecast a huge amount of rain for Sydney and it’s going to be his first go at 2400 metres so I don’t really want him on a bog track,” he said.
“I wanted him to race this week and although 2000 metres would have been ideal, I know he’ll run 2400 metres.”
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