Wednesday week’s 2015 Launceston Cup will be the next-up target for Troy Blacker’s galloper Keukenhof after his final hit-out before the Group race under the lights at Launceston Racecourse tonight.
The Helike gelding is one of 10 remaining hopefuls in the $25,000 Launceston Mitsubishi Sydeston Night Cup (2100m) on Vamos Stakes Night after the early scratching of #5 Varian from the field reduced the line-up by one.
Due to jump at 9:10pm (local time) as Launceston Race 6, the handicap clash sees Keukenhof jump from barrier three with apprentice Josh Cartwright in the saddle on 58.5kg.
Blacker’s Longford-based five-year-old is the second heaviest weighted in the race following only Rodney Seymour’s Ladoni six-year-old Another Lad Al (59kg) coming off a dead last when 12th to Geegees Blackflash in the Group 3 Hobart Cup (2400m) on February 9.
Keukenhof is one of the best in betting for the Sydeston Night Cup this evening at the corporates with markets led by Valdez in barrier four for jockey Clare Lindop.
The Graeme McCulloch & David Keating-trained Sebring three-year-old has a jockey change here with Adelaide’s Lindop replacing ace local hoop Anthony Darmanin in the saddle.
Darmanin has ridden the youngster in his past four starts including his third to Geegees Classicboy in the Listed Tasmanian Derby (2200m) on February 6, but is engaged to partner the Angela Barakey-trained Shipspotting from barrier two tonight.
Husson mare Shipspotting comes off two sixth places runs and also pays single figures to win the Cup along with Keukenhof, the consistent Magnus four-year-old Hugo and Wordsmith gelding Geegees Baritone.
There are currently 19 nominations for the $225,000 Group 3 Betfair Launceston Cup (2400m) back at the track on February 25th with Keukenhof, who Blacker has had targeting the race since last September, getting in on the 54kg minimum.
The other Sydeston Night Cup acceptors in the Launceston Cup nominations are the aforementioned top weight Another Lad Al and Hugo.
Keukenhof was last seen running third to Ollie’s Gold on January 28 at the track when defeated two and a half lengths in a Benchmark 82 race over 2100m Blacker admits he expected his horse to win.
They bypassed the Hobart Cup then to focus instead on this hit-out and then the Launceston Cup, his run in which will be confirmed tonight.
“The horse looks very well in himself,” Blacker told TasRacing.
“The horse revved up well for tonight’s run and hoping for a good showing.
“It will have to be a satisfactory run (tonight) for us to press ahead (to the Launceston Cup) but I’m expecting that tonight so hopefully he’ll go there (next week) and do his best.”
Blacker also holds no fears about the mile and a half of the Launceston Cup especially looking at the horse’s good record of four wins and five minor placings from 18 runs at the track.
“His record over the 2100 (metres) there (at Launceston) is very good,” he said.
“I haven’t got any doubts whether he’ll run the 2400 (metres) for the Cup so if the horse is right on the day with minimum weight I reckon he’ll equip himself quite well in the race.”
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