Another Cup is the aim
LAST year John Everson raised a few eyebrows by winning a race over 2000 metres at the first day of the Lismore carnival with Hecentadove then backing him up four days later in the XXXX Gold Lismore Cup over 2100 metres.
Those eyebrows were soon lowered when Hecentadove, ridden by Marlon Dolendo, led all the way then defied all efforts to be run down and won the cup by a long neck.
This year eyebrows are being raised once again as the Ballina-based Everson takes a totally different approach to the cup, forced on him by circumstances beyond his control.
Hecentadove will go into tomorrow’s cup after not having had a start since June 6 at Murwillumbah when he ran second last, beaten 17.6 lengths.
“The Lismore Cup was always the race we were aiming him at and I gave him a let up after Murwillumbah,” Everson said.
“We thought he was coming along nicely until his work rider, Sue Logan, jumped off him one morning and told us she thought he had a back problem.
“The horse was sweating more than normal which would have suggested he might have been feeling some pain.
“I gave him another break and called the farrier in to change his front shoes and since coming back into work this time he has been a different horse.”
Up until then, Everson thought Hecentadove’s chances of racing tomorrow were gone.
“I thought any hopes of running him in the Lismore Cup were gone because I did not think he would be fit enough for 2100 metres first up,” he said.
“However, he needed a good long hit out and the ‘A’ grass was open last Saturday morning so I thought I would take advantage of it.
“The grass was only open to horses nominated for the cup so I nominated him.
“His work was outstanding and George Auckram, who rode him in the gallop, told me he thought the horse was much more forward than we realised.
“It was then I decided to push ahead to the cup and I honestly think he is forward enough to run the distance out. I wouldn’t be risking the horse if I did not think he was fit enough.”
Dolendo, back on the horse again for this year’s cup, said he still had to look through the form but if there was no other pacemaker in the race he would consider leading again.
“You have to be up in the leading division at Lismore anyway and that is why that pattern suits this horse,” Dolendo said.