The Coffs Harbour Racing Club chairman Alan Johnson has a special interest in this Thursday’s 2013 Coffs Harbour Gold Cup as he is a part-owner of one of the quartet of local hopes, Hour Of Peril.
Of the 13 gallopers remaining in contention for the $80,000 Carlton Mid 2013 Coffs Harbour Gold Cup (1600m), due to run as Race 7 at 4:09pm, Hour Of Peril is surely rated one of the major threats after their last start win at Grafton.
In their first run for new trainer John Nikolic, whose wife also owns a part-share in the former Patinack Farm-owned Fusaichi Pegasus gelding, Hour Of Peril strutted their stuff with a half-length win in the Maclean Cup (1406m).
“For heaven’s sake, tell everybody I’m only the part-owner as I couldn’t afford to buy him on my own,” Johnson told The Coffs Coast Advocate this week.
The Maclean Cup was the soon to be six-year-olds’ first win since the Listed Tattersall’s Mile at Eagle Farm in July last year, an effort that proves they can handle the 1600m of this week’s Coffs Harbour Cup.
For their MacLean Cup victory Hour Of Peril was ridden by the Brisbane-based jockey Larry Cassidy.
While never traveling far from his Queensland base Cassidy was impressed enough with the horse’s run at Grafton that he will make the trip to the New South Wales north-coast for Thursday’s ride where his mount has drawn the second widest gate.
“Larry Cassidy rode him in the Maclean Cup and will come to Coffs to be on his back again,” Johnson said.
“The jockey doesn’t like to get too far away from Brisbane but said he liked him from the moment he first jumped on and would go anywhere he goes.”
Johnson is excited over the prospects of taking out his home town cup but is also wary of the talented line-up that includes three other locals with Toucan Ukelele, Bondit and last year’s third place-getter Erinsea.
“The field he beat at Grafton was a bit weaker than these but John always said we should set him for this race and always thought he could win,” Johnson said.
Hour Of Peril also gets in well in the weights on the 54kg minimum but Johnson has warned people not to rule out the Gai Waterhouse-trained top-weight Kontiki Park (60kg).
“Obviously, Gai Waterhouse wouldn’t be starting topweight Kontiki Park unless she thought it could win,” Johnson pointed out.
Also in the mix is the reigning Coffs Harbour Cup winner Pepperwood in gate six with Glen Colless to ride.
Liam Birchley’s ageing Brisbane raider turns nine on Coffs Harbour Cup Day and should relish their 55kg weight allocation having carried 58.5kg to victory in the same event 12 months ago.
The weight drop plus some decent recent form back home also has Johnson keeping an eye on last year’s winner.
“Last year’s winner Pepperwood is flying at the moment and Glen Colless will come back home to ride him again,” he said.
But as for the horse he rates the main danger? Johnson said last start Sawtell Cup winner Single Spirit was the one to beat after the Not A Single Doubt three-year-olds impressive victory at the track on July 21.
“I guess the one we all have to beat is the Sawtell Cup winner, Single Spirit,” he said.
“He’s the horse on the rise and his trainer Ross Stitt and jockey Robert Thompson know the game backwards and are always tough competitors.”
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