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Cluden Park
Hughes Lights Slow Fuse to the Cups with Late Bloomer

Hughes Lights Slow Fuse to the Cups with Late Bloomer

12th May 2021 | By Tony Wode

Underrated miler Dordogne might have a name that’s a bit of a tongue twister, but it may pay to get used to it come cups time.

The Townsville galloper, who bears the name of an area in France, will kick off a campaign aimed at the rich northern cups when he steps out in tomorrow’s Open Hcp (1609m) at Cluden Park.

Dordogne (pronunciations best left to the French but something like Doordonye), has been a quiet achiever for his trainer Graham Hughes, who has carefully developed the now six-year-old from a maidener to an open class horse.

The tough gelding struck career best form earlier this year with three straight wins before Hughes sent him for a break with a cups mission in mind.

“The plan this time in is to see if we can get his rating high enough to try him in the cups,” Hughes said. 

“He’s a horse that has just continued to improve as he’s got older.

“When he was a three-year-old I gave him over a year off and in hindsight it was the best thing for him.

“He furnished into a nice horse and once I worked out to space his runs, he’s really been fool proof.

“He’s eight weeks between runs, but I have given him a jump-out to get a bit more fitness into him. I expect him to run a good race but he’ll improve on whatever he does.”

Eight of Dordogne’s nine wins have been at the mile, six of them at Cluden and two in Mackay.

A solid fourth in a restricted 2000m race at Cluden last June at his only start over the distance convinced Hughes to look at a cups tilt.

Veteran jockey Frank Edwards has developed a strong bond with Dordogne and the pair have now combined to win six races, five over the mile at Cluden.

The pair will be up against a small but select field tomorrow including the free running Cleo’s Poet on the limit weight, last year’s Mackay Cup winner Best Hoffa, and Townsville Cup runner-up Tunero.

Leading trainer Roy Chillemi will roll out his big guns with four leading chances in the Visit Us @ 3yo Plate (1300m).

Stable stars Higher Realm and Tennessee Boy drop considerably in weight under the set weights conditions and dominate early betting.

Chillemi will also run the improving Robig and Waterway in the 10 horse field.

The result of the race will be an important guide for Chillemi in mapping out winter assignments for his three-year-olds, particularly Higher Realm and Tennessee Boy.

But it may not be all one-way traffic. Cracker Essgee has lowered the colours of Robig and Tennessee Boy at his past two starts and despite a big swing around in the weights will appreciate the step up in distance to 1300m.

Central west apprentice Emma Bell has answered the call up from her aunt Julie Bell to ride her sprinting star Beau Jet in the Oracle Studio Open Hcp (1000m).

Bell will claim 3kg on Beau Jet who will lump the 61.5kg, the same weight he carried when he won his 10th race over the Cluden 1000m on March 29.

Beau Jet is raced by Julie Bell and her partner Bill Kenning who trains the nine-year-old.

Emma Bell made a rare trip to Townsville last month to win on bush champ Bollente.

Pictured: Cluden mile specialist Dordogne and jockey Frank Edwards winning in the wet in February. Dordogne resumes on a possible cups trail today. Photo Mike Mills photography