Donnelly big on numbers and quality in Spring Cup

By Michael Guerin

Emerging trainer Arna Donnelly says their future travel plans are the best pointer to the chances of her four starters in tonight’s Betavet Spring Cup at Alexandra Park.

The open class event isn’t close to being the richest race of the night but contains horses with roles to play in the major races ahead, even if it has lost early favourite Old Town Road after he took some skin off a leg in a minor paddock accident.

That leaves just six starters in the 2200m standing start and Cambridge trainer Donnelly had four of those, among the 10 horses she will take tonight’s meeting, a great indication of the trajectory her career is on.

While stable star Kango faces a 15m handicap in the tricky small field over the sprint distance Donnelly still opts for him as her best hope.

“He is my best horse and he is the one booked to go to Christchurch for the (NZ) Cup, so that tells the story,” says Donnelly.

“These can be tricky races cause he might settle last and even have to make his own luck but he is the class horse of the field and he will be improved on last week when he was fresh up.”

On that occasion Kango came from 35m behind to run into third with stablemate Taipo winning off 10m, whereas tonight they are 10m closer in the handicaps.

“Taipo is really well and is a good sprinter who can step well but the other horse might still be too good. But I think Rough And Ready isn’t without a hope either.”

Trainer James Stormont has opted to start the promising Hey Bartender in the Cup rather than taking an easier option earlier in the night, suggesting the standing start practice will do him good for races ahead after he missed away in a similar race last week.

Of Donnelly’s 10 reps Aflyin Spur (R3, No.6) is the one other booked to head to Canterbury for the spring and he will wear half hopples tonight to help him regain his confidence after an early gallop last week.

He meets a small field in the main trot but it contains plenty of in-form horses and while Temporale faces a 30m backmark the little wonder warrior is still the one to beat if he can make one of his quick beginnings and get in front of a couple of rivals.




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