Local trainer John Shelton is focused on Thursday’s Grafton meeting but will still have Tara Jasmine in the back of his mind after she qualified for the $500,000 Country Championships Final last weekend.
The three-year-old filly ran second in the first $150,000 qualifier at Coffs Harbour on Saturday and she has pulled up well.
“She seems really good,” Shelton said.
“It would’ve been nice to win but at least we got a spot. She didn’t have the best of luck after getting interference coming out of the barriers but she hit the line very well.
Trainer John Shelton has already secured a spot in the Country Championships Final with Tara Jasmine.Source:News Regional Media
“It was a big jump in grade. She went from a Class 1 to a Class 5 and just got beat so I was pretty proud of her at her fourth race start.”
Shelton has already snapped up leading rider Tim Clark to guide Tara Jasmine in the Final and he’s got a rough plan mapped out for her in the lead up to the big race at Royal Randwick on the first Saturday of April.
“There’s not many that can ride 54kg and I couldn’t be happier with Tim,” he said. “She’ll run at Eagle Farm over 1400m in a fortnight and she might have to have another trial before the final.”
At Grafton, Shelton has the in-form Bugalugs going around in the race of the day, an Open Handicap (1106m) which ends the seven-race card.
The five-year-old is having his 28th start and is in a purple patch, having ran second last start and taking out a the race before. He comes off a 1200m runner-up finish behind Nothingforthepress and they meet again on Thursday. But Bugalugs looks better placed dropping back nearly 100m so he’s a good chance to turn the tables.
“I thought he’ll get to 1400m but I’ve been training him a bit different and keeping him fresh and he seems to be sprinting well,” Shelton said. “I don’t want to see any more rain. If it got to a Heavy 10 I wouldn’t run. He does get through the slow and he’s racing very well.”
Jockey Luke Rolls has notched a win and a second in two rides on Bugalugs. Picture: Bill North/The Daily ExaminerSource:News Regional Media
Shelton is hoping the class of Bullet Shot will shine through earlier in the day in a Benchmark 58 Handicap (2220m). He’s coming off a third placing at this track and prior to that run had ran well in much better races than the one he contests on Thursday.
“He’s got the big weight and he’s another one who doesn’t want it heavy,” Shelton said.
“It looks like a nice race for him and if he has any luck and gets in the right spot, he’ll run a good race. He’s been running in better races so this is his race. On paper it looks like the easiest race he’s been in for a while.”
Special Union (race 6) and Stars Are Trumps (race 3) are Shelton’s other runners as is Supreme Hero, who debuts in the second race for two-year-olds.
He’s only had one trial when running second over 890m and has been given a good gate to kick off his career under Luke Rolls.
“He’s trialled nicely and has drawn barrier one,” Shelton said. “He did everything right in his trial and I’ve got a bit of time for him.”
PURE DELIGHT FOR CROCKETT
Cameron Crockett was keen to send Pure Fuego to Saturday’s Highway race at Rosehill but a horror draw means Thursday’s Newcastle race is the one for him.
The Bullet Train four-year-old contests a Benchmark 64 Handicap (1400m) after winning his past two over slightly shorter trips at Tamworth and Muswellbrook.
Pure Fuego is taking his trainer and connections on a ride they weren’t expecting until 2022.
“He was very immature in the early days and never showed us a lot of galloping ability but I always had an opinion of him as a horse in general,” Crockett said.
“He was always behind all of his mates that were coming through at the same time but he looked like he had enough improvement to let him keep developing. I thought he’d get to the level he’s got to but didn’t think he’d get there in five runs.”
Trainer Cameron Crockett has been pleased with Pure Fuego’s progress. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
He’s having his sixth start and while in form, he did run third at his second run last May when coming from 16th at the 400m at Scone. That was the day he confirmed to Crockett he had a future.
“His run at Scone (start one) was huge so he showed us he had the ability and I thought three or four preps down the track he might be getting to open company level but he’s got there in four runs,” Crockett said. “He’s looking for 1400m but I might be heading to Newcastle because that barrier at Rosehill (16) is disgraceful.”
Commando Hunt drew worse than his stablemate in 17 for Saturday’s Highway but that won’t stop him taking his place in the big field. He came from 11th at the home turn to run a second in a Highway a fortnight ago and he’ll be flashing late again on Saturday.
“He will go to Rosehill,” Crockett said. “He can miss the kick anyway and he has a few barrier problems so going in late will help him. If he got even luck I think he would’ve won last start.”
Originally published asGrafton preview: Shelton banks on Bugalugs to strike back
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