Black hoping to Get Lucky in last qualifying race for Jewels

By Frank Marrion

 The first half hour of Friday night’s race meeting at Addington could not have gone any better for Alister Black.

The Branxholme trainer combined with driver Brad Williamson to win the $73,125 Sales race for three-year-old trotters with Get Lucky and then Vintage Cheddar continued his rich and impressive vein of form by completing a double at the Premier meeting.

Both horses are raced by the Thomson brothers Ian and Lindsay, who have been the owners in 21 of 23 winners for Black in the past two seasons.

Vintage Cheddar is now easily qualified for the Jewels, but the situation is not as clear-cut for Get Lucky.

Stakes from Sales races don’t count for the Jewels and the subsequent win at Addington by Monaro Maro and the placing by Full Noise at Gore have pushed Get Lucky off the list of the 11 local qualifiers for the 3YO Ruby.

Should those 11 wish to start at the Jewels and regardless of whether or not the Australian invite All Cashed Up turns up, Get Ready needs a placing in the last race at Oamaru on Sunday.

That meeting has traditionally been the cut-off for Jewels qualification and some have indeed sneaked through at the 11th hour, but never has there been so much riding on the last actual qualifying race.

Get Lucky has looked one of the best in his age group since his debut as a two-year-old and the Sales race showed he is in tip-top form and is in the Ruby up to his ears.

Black is being rather pragmatic about a situation which is largely out of his control, saying “it is what it is”, but obviously he would dearly love to see Get Lucky get a start at the Jewels given Vintage Cheddar is going to be up against Turn It Up and company.

“Things are in the lap of the gods now and we could still sneak into the Jewels even if we don’t win at Oamaru, if some of the others decide against starting,” said Black.

“I’m not too concerned about copping the 10m rehandicap as Get Lucky is a very good beginner and he’ll make up that ground in the first five strides.

“But it’s a pretty good field all the same and a lot will depend on what sort of run he gets.

“I’m more concerned about whether he’ll back up two days after racing at Addington as that is unknown territory for both of us.

“He’s backed up after a week before and he seemed very bright on Saturday morning, but we won’t really know until after he’s raced at Oamaru.”

A $20,000 purchase at the Premier Sale, Get Lucky has now won $76,000 with three wins and three seconds in his 12 races to date.

Enhance Your Calm and Oscar Bonavena and more recently Tickle Me Pink have looked the standout trotters in the crop, but Get Lucky is as good as the rest and can get a large piece of the Jewels pie with some luck in the draw and on the day.

“Whatever happens, we’re very proud of what Get Lucky has already achieved.

“He was mentally immature last year and really only got by on natural ability, and while he’s grown up a lot this year, I don’t think we’ll see the best of him until he’s probably a five-year-old.

“So if he doesn’t qualify for the Jewels, Oamaru will be his last start this season, and if he does, then I’ve got two weeks to figure out the pieces to the puzzle.”

FOOTNOTE: Having rolled the dice by not racing this weekend, current 3YO Ruby $2.40 second favourite Oscar Bonavena is in very real danger of missing a start at the Jewels, and is probably relying upon some defections to the field.

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