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Cluden Park
Massingham Banks on Overdue Change of Luck

Massingham Banks on Overdue Change of Luck

27th June 2022 | By Tony Wode

It’s a long way from the TAB fixtures at Townsville, but trainer Stephen Massingham is hoping a winning trip to the annual Laura bush races is the change of fortune he needs for a big day at Cluden Park tomorrow.

Massingham has had a terrible run of luck with injuries in his Cairns stable and by his own lofty standards a disappointing year with just 22 winners in 2021/22.

First he lost Swan Cap with a tendon injury, The Harrovian was retired and the brilliant Olindo broke down and had to be euthanized at Cluden last month.

A rare trip to the annual Laura Cup meeting last Saturday for a winning treble was a timely confidence booster, and Massingham is upbeat about the stable’s five chances tomorrow.

“I hadn’t been there (Laura) for years and mine were all entitled to win coming out of the non-TABs. It was a huge weekend – they tell me they went through 120 litres of rum just on the Friday night,” Massingham said.

But Massingham knows back in town just weeks before the northern carnivals begin, it’s a much tougher task.

“It has been a pretty disappointing year for us. I went almost three months without a winner at one stage,” Massingham said.

“I had some surgery and really cut back on numbers and turned out a fair few. I brought 10 back at the same time and I was probably left with five that I could go on with.

“We lost some very good horses. Losing Olindo was a huge blow. He was a really nice horse winning on raw ability and I think he’d have got further later on.

“It has been a tough year but I think we can finish strongly. We’ve got some good chances tomorrow.”

Massingham is expecting strong runs from former Victorian galloper Flying Artist in the Maiden, stable rat More The Merrier in the 3YO Hcp, Brilliant Mind in the Cl6 Hcp and Dunatun in the BM65.

He rates Flying Artist and More The Merrier his best chances and Brilliant Mind and Dunatun strong hopes in tough races.

“Flying Artist played up in the gates first-up and he just never got going. His work has been great since and I’m hoping he can settle back a bit and round them up,” Massingham said.

“More The Merrier is up here because she’s a handful. She bites and kicks and training her is a fair challenge. But she can gallop and third up she’ll jump and go.

“I’ve gone with Cody Collis’ 3kg claim for Brilliant Mind and that’ll give us a 5kg pull in the weights on Prime Ruler from the last time they met.

“Prime Ruler is a very good horse, and he might still beat us but going with the claimer is our best hope of beating him.

“I also think Dunatun will go well. He ran home strongly in Cairns last start and is going into the race in good form.”

Massingham’s other runner on the day, Don Arcangelo will also tackle the Cl 6 Hcp but Massingham expects the former Sydney galloper who is cups bound to find the 1400m too short.

Pictured: Full Recognition winning at Cluden last month, Trainer Stephen Massingham is hoping to finish the year strongly after a tough season with four good chances tomorrow.

See the racing calendar for upcoming race day