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Pete Back With Buster With Cup On His Mind
There’s one major motivation that keeps veteran jockey Peter Cullen coming back for more, and that’s the Townsville Cup.
After two stints out with injury in the past 12 months, the diminutive hoop is back in the saddle and getting ready for another Cup tilt with former barrier rogue Buster Block.
The pair will continue their build up to the carnival when they line up as leading fancies in tomorrow’s Brown Brothers Open Hcp (1400m) at Cluden Park.
Cullen, who trains Buster Block, is expecting the seven-year-old to be in the finish at his third run back from a spell.
“I think he will be very competitive. He’ll be a lot fitter and he’s well and truly up to winning it,” Cullen said.
For Cullen, who is in his fifties, retirement after a tough 12 months might have been a fleeting consideration, but he says the Cup keeps him going.
“I’ve got a mission. I’ve won just about every major race up this way, except the Cup. I want to win it before I retire and I’m going to do my best to do it.”
Cullen is convinced Buster Block has a great shot at winning the Cup this year after finishing second in the Mackay Cup and fifth in Townsville’s big race last year.
The now seven-year-old has returned in good form with a narrow second to Full Recognition in a 1000m Open last month before a solid fifth to So You Dream over 1400m on June 3.
“I think he’s a better horse this time. He’s more mature in himself and relaxes better in his races which is what you need for the Cup distances,” Cullen said.
“We nearly didn’t run him in the Cup last year because I thought he well and truly wasn’t ready for it. But he made the field and we took the opportunity.
“I though his run was exceptional considering the run we had and he’s a much better horse for the experience.
“I’m very happy with how he’s coming up. I’m hoping he can take out the race tomorrow and then go into the NQ Cup which gives you a free run in the Cup.”
Tomorrow’s assignment won’t be easy with a capacity field headed by the in-form Best Hoffa who is also on the Cups trail.
The eight-event card at Cluden also features the return of top sprinter Langhro with 64.5kg in the Grab Your Tickets to Ladies Day Open Hcp (1000m).
Langrho was runner-up in both the Cleveland Bay Hcp and Cairns Newmarket last year, races the Lonrho gelding will again target in the months ahead.
Tomorrow’s race has drawn a crack field of sprinters including Beau Jet, El Shaday, Full Recognition, Our Alicia’s Lane and highly rated three-year-old Higher Realm.
Pictured: Peter Cullen lifts Buster Block over the line to win at Cluden last winter on his way to the Mackay and Townsville Cups. Photo courtesy of Mike Mills Photography.
See the racing calendar for upcoming race days.