CAN HISTORY REPEAT?: Exclusive won the Beef Week Cup for Casino trainer Stephen Bennett who is hoping for a repeat in weekend’s $30,000 The Hotel Cecil Casino Cup. Photo Susanna Fraymark.
CAN HISTORY REPEAT?: Exclusive won the Beef Week Cup for Casino trainer Stephen Bennett who is hoping for a repeat in weekend’s $30,000 The Hotel Cecil Casino Cup. Photo Susanna Fraymark.

Trainers jockey for Casino Cup win

WITH the Queensland border shut, it’s London to brick on that a local thoroughbred will take out the $30,000 The Hotel Cecil Casino Cup on Saturday.

Casino trainer Steve Bennett is chasing a Casino Beef Week-Cup double when he sends Exclusive around the track in 1400m feature race.

Five-year-old grey Exclusive, winner of seven of his 21 starts and more than $120,000 in prizemoney, won a thrilling Beef Week Cup over the 1400m from Prima Stella back on May 29.

Since then, Exclusive’s won Grafton’s John Carlton Cup.

He was at 57.5kg when he won the Beef Week Cup and jumps up to 60.5kg on Saturday with Kirk Matheson to pilot the gelding from barrier seven.

He isn’t the top weight though, this honour goes to Grafton’s John Shelton-trained Tarbert, an eight-year-old gelding son of Red Element who’s won 11 of his 39 starts.

Tarbet jumps from barrier 10 with Kyle Wilson-Traylor to claim 2kg off his big 64kg weight.

Other trainers looking to crush Bennett’s hopes include Lismore’s Daniel Bowen and Owen Glue and Ballina’s Stephen Lee and Sean Hendry.

Lee has nominated two horses, Nothingforthepress and See It Thru, the former a seven-year-old gelding with seven wins from 36 starts earning over $167,000 in prizemoney.

Nothingforthepress’s single start at Casino saw a courageous second to Powerline in the 2019 race and was Ballina Cup runner-up to Exclusive in the 1215m John Carlton Cup before returning from a five-week freshener with a third at Eagle Farm over 1200m.

Matt McGuren, the NRRA’s leading jockey last season reunites with the gelding to leap from barrier one on 59kg, meeting Exclusive better at the weights despite the jump.

Veteran Lismore trainer Owen Glue has Indeed At Witz End, the five-year-old gelding ran fourth to Exclusive in the Beef Week Cup, has won six of his 24 starts and will have in-form Belinda Hodder on board on 55kg running from barrier four.

Daniel Owen’s Lucap has not won at Casino in two unplaced starts but is in good form after a two wins at Ballina and a last start second at Lismore over the Cup distance.

Lucap will Ben Looker on board but they must overcome the outside 11 barrier.

Ballina trainer Sean Hendry lines up nine-year-old gelding Dark Image in his debut with apprentice Leah Kilner on top, hoping to add to his five wins and 17 placings from 59 starts.

Finally, Collins Creek, an eight-year-old gelding who ran sixth to Exclusive in 2019 will run from barrier six on the immediate inside of Exclusive for new trainer Casino’s Chris O’Reilly.

It would be enormous quinella if they finished side-by-side in the premier spots come Saturday around 3.05pm (official Cup start timed for 3.03pm).



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