Gosford trainer Luke Hilton will atempt to train winners at two tracks on Monday that are more than 450km apart.
Highly Desired runs in the biggest race for the stable in the Coonabarabran Cup (1600m) and he’s been running very well of late without winning.
He comes off a close fifth placing at Gosford and before that was fourth and second in the Bathurst and Dubbo Cups respectively.
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Chad Lever has a great opportunity to win the Coonabarabran Cup.Source:News Corp Australia
And he’s dropping the six-year-old back 300m in trip.
“He’s knocking on the door and he’s very consistent but he needs everything to go his way,” Hilton said.
“I feel the race sets up pretty well for him and he gets the blinkers back on and is back to a mile off a 1900m run.
“We just wanted to give him a shorter trip while freshened up so hopefully he can get the job done.
“I think the race isn’t as strong as the Dubbo Cup he was in and if he brings that form into this race, he’s going to be hard to beat.”
It will be the first time Highly Desired steps out onto the Coonabarabran track, but that isn’t Hilton’s fear, it comes from above.
“The track will suit him. He doesn’t want too much rain though. He’s won on the soft but I think he’s better on top of the ground,” Hilton said.
Forged In Stone is another Hilton horse who doesn’t want the track too wet as he goes around earlier in the day in a Class 1 Handicap (1400m).
He may have barrier nine and is coming off a last placing at Canberra, but showed he was back in form with a top trial over 1000m on his home track recently.
He’ll look to push forward and out himself into the race.
“The wide draw doesn’t affect him because he likes to roll forward and take his time,” Hilton said.
“He doesn’t want a bog track. He didn’t handle it at Canberra the other day but his trial since was super. He ran just behind Riodni who ran third in an Epsom.
“I’ve always thought he’d be a Saturday horse over 2000m but I want a dry track for him.”
On the coast, Undeniable is attempting to win a Class 3 Handicap (1200m) at Port Macquarie.
And that’s where Hilton is happy for the rain to fall for the Not A Single Doubt filly who also has to do it from barrier nine in the 10-horse field.
“It’s not too bad because they’re going to get a bit of rain so he should get into the right spot,” Hilton said.
“Up to the 1200m, I think her early speed will help her get up into a good position.”
Undeniable comes off a good win at Port Macquarie over 100m where she beat Lucky Shadow and Girls Kick On – both horses on the way up with many wins in front of them.
“She’s tough and she doesn’t know anything but to try her heart out. You know when you take her to the races she’s going to give it her all,” Hilton said.
“That takes her a lot further than her size and ability will.
“We’ve tried to give her time to strengthen up and I think we’ll see her go on a bit longer this preparation.”
Terry Evans only paid $5000 for Port Macquarie hopeful Up The Stairs.Source:News Corp Australia
Big goals for former sale topper
Sake-topping yearling Up The Stairs is on target for a return trip to Sydney on November 7 for the rich ATC Country Classic (2000m) but not before he contests Sunday’s Stephen Cook Memorial Handicap (1500m) at Port Macquarie.
Up The Stairs was the talk of Tasmania when he stepped into the ring at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale at Launceston in 2015 making top price of $100,000.
The reason why he was so sought after is that he is a three-quarter-brother to the former Apple Isle hero, The Cleaner who ran in two of Winx’s four Cox Plate wins.
Up The Stairs had his first 21 starts in Victoria when managed by VRC Oaks-winning trainer John McArdle.
His last 11 outings have been under the care of Tuncurry trainer Terry Evans posting a win and four placings.
“We didn’t pay much for him and he had a lot of issues when we got him so he has done pretty well when you consider we paid $5000 for him,’’ Evans said.
Up The Stairs ran a huge race first-up at Taree over an unsuitably short 1250m prompting Evans to have a crack at a 1600m TAB Highway at Randwick on October 10.
While the grandson of Sadler’s Wells only beat two home, he was eating up the ground late to get within a diminishing 5.5-lengths of the winner.
“It wasn’t where we wanted to be,’’ Evans said.
“The winner was alongside us back on the fence and we ended up going ten wide and the winner went up the rail and won.’’
Up The Stairs has raced over the same course and distance as Sunday’s mission three times, returning to Tuncurry with a second and two thirds.
Joining him on the float on Sunday is Bouquets who could easily sprint well fresh when she resumes in the Carlton Dry Maiden over 1100m.
“I think she should go pretty good, I am quite happy with her,’’ the trainer says.
“She is not an overly big filly but she can go all right. She has been a bit of a handful; she is by Cluster and they tend to be a bit cantankerous.’’
Originally published asCoonabarabran preview: Hilton has eyes on big prize
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