Dubbo trainer Garry Lunn looks set to throw the hat of veteran six-year-old Oskastar into the ring ahead of the rich Gooree Park Gooree Cup.
The in-form chestnut gelding is coming off a first at Nyngan and second at Gunnedah in his last two starts and but will jump up a class for Saturday’s 1600m, $40,000 feature at the Mudgee Race Club.
Lunn’s hope will take on a stack of the central district’s best – including David J Smith’s pair Bezel and Stilettoed Vixen while Mack Griffith has nomainted Most Exalted – and metropolitan and provincial powerhouses like Gai Waterhouse, Bjorn Baker, Scott Singleton and Kris Lees have nominated runners, the latter naming Japanese galloper Hallelujah Boy in the field.
Based on the bumper noms across the seven race program, Mudgee Race Club officials will need to start stocking up on supplies – and cash.
Mudgee-based trainer Cameron Crockett is confident supporters will go home with plenty and intends to nominate up to seven runners, each possessing strong claims.
The livewire 31-year-old was especially keen to speak about the prospects of Andy’s a Star, Velaro, Ricci Royal and Ori On Fire.
Andy’s a Star could well live up to his name when he tackles the $20,000 Class 3 Handicap (1400m). The three-year-old made an impressive debut with a slashing victory at Dubbo (1100m) after a torrid run.
“His win was amazing,” Crockett said. “He was four and five deep with no cover the entire race.
“In the straight he wanted to hang in, then hang out and did everything possible to beat himself, yet he still jumped out of the ground late to win.
“He will step up to the 1400m which will be even more up his alley. He’s come on since the win and will take plenty of holding out here next Saturday.”
He’s come on since the win and will take plenty of holding out.Cameron Crockett on Andy's a Star.
Velaro has only raced on five occasions and was having his first run for five months in a Coonabarabran maiden (1400m) on April 28, when he streeted his rivals by more than four lengths. The three-year-old will compete in the $20,000 Benchmark 55 Handicap (2000m).
“This bloke is a stayer in the making,” Crockett declared. “He beat the competition with ease at Coonabarabran and I’m sure he is going to go on to bigger and better things. We will have him spot on for Mudgee and he should handle the 2000 metres easily.”
Ricci Royal will be starting in the $20,000 Benchmark 70 Handicap (1200m) having also resumed from a five-month break, finishing just behind the placegetters at Dubbo (1100m) last Sunday.
“His run was OK but he doesn’t really do his best at Dubbo. He might be a bit of a homebody as he has had two starts at Mudgee and bolted in here last September,” Crockett said. “He will improve massively on his home track.”
And Ori On Fire was to have competed at Scone last week with Crockett keen on backing him up at Mudgee: “He’s a very good horse who finished second in a Highway race at Royal Randwick so he’ll appreciate dropping back sharply in grade at Mudgee.”