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Feature sprints on the cards for big-hearted sprinter
Mackay sprinter Last Chance booked a busy winter schedule targeting major northern sprints after a powerhouse win at Cluden Park today.
Smashed in betting to run 2.35 favourite, Last Chance glided to a brilliant two and ½ length win under 60.5kg in the Brown Brothers Open Hcp (1200m).
The five-year-old’s trainer Olivia Cairns said the gelding would be aimed at the Rockhampton and Mackay Newmarkets before a tilt at the Cleveland Bay Hcp in Townsville.
“He’s more heart than ability, he’s a really genuine horse,” Cairns said.
“We’ll probably run next in the Mackay Amateurs over 1300m and then Rocky and Mackay Newmarkets and here for the Cleveland Bay.
“He missed a start in the Cleveland Bay last year because his rating wasn’t good enough but he’ll be right this year.
“He’s a horse needs good speed in his races to do his best and that’s why he should be suited in the big sprints, where the pressure is on all the way.
“I was a little bit worried there would be enough pace in the race today but there was good speed and he landed in a great spot and had them covered a long way out.”
The win was Last Chance’s 11th from 38 starts and provided the first leg a winning double for jockey Bobby El-Issa.
He produced a clever tactical ride to win on the rapidly improving Cracker Essgee in the TAB Long May We Play 3yo Hcp (1200m).
Cracker Essgee toughed out a grinding finish to beat a high quality field including the dominant Roy Chillemi-trained three-year-old team for his third win.
The Michael McLellan trained gelding defeated Cleaver Greene and Robig, who had a tough three wide run.
McLellan said it was still all systems go for a crack at the Townsville Dollars and Guineas double with a possible sidetrip to Mackay for next month’s $105,000 Northern Jewel.
“I couldn’t be happier with how he’s going. He’s going from strength to strength,” McLellan said.
“He’s won two out of three in Mackay so he likes the track, but we’ll just see how he comes through this.”
Meanwhile, veteran gelding Best Hoffa set his cups campaign back on track after a stunning win the Events for All Occasions B75 Hcp (1400m) thanks to a tear away ride by apprentice Marnu Potgieter.
Best Hoffa, who normally gets back, stunned even his trainer after he raced to a five length lead in the middle stages and gave his opposition a galloping lesson.
“That was more like it,” Molino said.
“I though he could win his last start over the mile but things didn’t work out for him. Marnu with the claim got him going early and when nothing really wanted to lead he let him roll.
“He’s just had a steady build up so far and that shows he’s going well. He won with 61kg today so our biggest problem now might be weight.”
Cluden dual licensee Carl Spry showed he’s just as adept as a trainer as he is a jockey, leading in smart debutante winner Choir Boy in the Grapes of Mirth Comedy 2yo Mdn Hcp (1000m).
The Divine Prophet gelding finished strongly under the urgings of jockey Denni Smith to win by a length and ¾ quarters.
Pictured: Cracker Essgee and connections, who beat a ‘crack’ field of smart 3 Year Olds to take out the last race.