More pages in this section
Molongle Back in Great Shape for Long-Awaited Lightning Bid
Townsville trainer Ben Williams is banking on the old proverb ‘all things come to those who wait’ being proven right with lightly raced sprinter Molongle Surprise at Cluden Park tomorrow.
The untapped six-year-old will face his biggest test yet when he tackles the Global Welding Supplies Lightning (1000m) at just his eighth race start and first day at the races for almost a year.
An early stifle injury has restricted the Bel Esprit gelding’s career, but an ultra-patient Williams says he couldn’t have him any better for the biggest race of his life.
“He’s been in work for almost four months and been through a long, slow process to get fit. He’s done the work and it’ll be all down to him when he gets to the races,” Williams said.
“With these sorts of horses, that have had a problem like that early on, time is the best thing and I’m lucky his owner Trevor Davies has been very supportive.
“He did a lot of slow fitness work at home in Charters Towers before we brought him down here for me and his jock Graham (Kliese) to finish him off.
“He’s had a jump out and two trials. It took him a couple of trials this time to get his mojo back because he’s been away from the sports for a long time.
“But his last trial was very good and he went really well in a gallop last week and Graham said he’s feels great.
“It’s a big ask to jump up to a tough race like the Lightning after such a long time off but I’m over the moon with him and I expect to him to run very well and improve on whatever he does.”
The stifle injury meant Molongle Surprise didn’t race until he was a four-year-old, finishing second in a low key maiden at Charters Towers in October, 2020.
But the gelding showed signs he was a horse going places with runaway wins at Pentland and the Towers before winning three from four starts in Townsville.
At his last start Molongle Surprise, named after Molongle Creek where the Davies’ cattle property is located, posted a highly impressive win on Townsville Cup day on September 2 last year.
For Williams, victory in the Lightning will be a personal triumph, but above all he would love a win for long-time clients and friends Trevor and Gloria Davies who are both ill.
“When he won last year Trevor wasn’t able to get to the track and he won’t be there again for the Lightning, but it would be just amazing if he could win for him.
“They’re great people and it’d be a big boost for them.”
The Lighting has attracted a quality line-up that includes rising star Bakuhatsu who will chase his fourth straight win in the big sprint.
Gamboa will be ridden by champion jockey Willie Pike who along with Brisbane-based Kiwi star Samantha Collett are riding at Cluden tomorrow as special guests of the Townsville carnival.
Pike and Collett will also attend the Townsville Cup Calcutta evening at the track at 6pm.
The nine-race Lightning card kicks off at 12.02pm with the TAB Long May We Play Maiden Plate (1200m).
Pictured: Molongle Surprise storms to victory with Graham Kliese in the saddle at last year's carnival. The pair will chase more carnival glory 12 months on in the Lightning Hcp.
See the racing calendar for upcoming race day