News & Events

Cooney confident with Lets Elope

By Michael Guerin

Three weeks after his horrific Alexandra Park accident, Frank Cooney could set punters up for a $100,000 windfall there tonight.

Cooney was knocked unconscious and later placed in an induced coma after a race smash on Black Friday, July 13th. He is recovering slowly but steadily and is now overseeing the workouts of his best pacers, including Lets Elope.

“He is getting better all the time,” said Cooney’s wife Ann.

“We are still having to control him because Frank being Frank, he wants to do things like drive the car a short distance but he is not allowed to.

“But he wanders down the stables most days to at least watch them work and seeing a horse like Lets Elope in good shape has been a real tonic for him.”

And punters who are considering anchoring Lets Elope in the second leg of tonight’s $100,000 Pick6 at Alexandra Park can do so with confidence.

“Even though Frank can’t drive him he is being worked exactly the same way,” confirms Ann.

“We have Brett Marshall fast working the horses for us and he is doing a great job, along with my sister in law Karen.

“Brett is a really capable horseman and also our blacksmith so he knows the horses well so they should be going to the races as good as they can be this week.”

That should be good enough for Lets Elope to dominate the main race tonight, even from barrier six. He meets some handy in-form rivals but is on a plane to Melbourne on Sunday to contest the three-year-old division of the Australasia Breeders Crown so would want to be winning tonight. He has the gate speed to go forward and dominate the race but has actually been most potent in the past when driven cold, which tonight’s small field allows.

Anything around $1.80 fixed would be good punting on him tonight but that may be hard to find.

He will fly to Melbourne on Sunday to join caretaker trainer Barry Purdon for the ABC campaign, with the Cooneys unable to make the trip as Frank is not allowed to fly yet.

Lets Elope isn’t the only Cooney-trained Pick6 dominator tonight, as Angel Delight will be the favourite in race nine as well.

He has been racing well in stronger fields and has barrier one tonight, which is ideal as he has gate speed and likes to race on the pace. He will only need to race up to his third last Friday night to be the one to beat from either the lead or trail.

“He is an honest little horse and is racing really well so he has to be a good chance,” says Cooney.

One of the other highlights tonight will be the clash of speedy four-year-olds Spirit And Desire and Pass Them By in race two for the junior drivers.

Pass Them By was more impressive than his margin suggested winning last start and looks headed most of the way through the grades, whereas Speed And Desire has blazing speed and is likely to lead early and give herself options.

Meanwhile, champion reinsman Dexter Dunn won’t be driving in New Zealand for the next three weeks.

Dunn has accompanied the Cran Dalgety team to the Australasian Breeders Crown in Melbourne and won’t return home until August 20. He will partner Texican, Onlyforyou, Chanelle Bromac and Bit Of A Legend in the ABC semi-finals at Melton next Friday.