Pinseeker great chance in Winton Cup

By Jonny Turner

The chance to take his hometown’s biggest piece of harness racing silverware awaits Jonny Cox at Winton on Saturday.

Cox will return to his home patch with his exciting pacer Pinseeker who has the Winton Cup in his sights.

If the trainer-driver’s raid from his base in Canterbury can be successful, it will mean a lot to him.

“I always love getting back to Winton,” Cox said.

“It is obviously where I grew up and learned how to drive.”

“I always love coming back home, I still call it home these days.”

Pinseeker faces a stern test from a 20m handicap in Winton’s 2400m feature.

But after just six race starts, the four-year-old is already making a habit of meeting any challenge put in front of him.

“He has stepped up every time we have thrown something at him,” Cox said.

“He tries his heart out every week and it doesn’t matter how you drive him.”

“Whether you drive him cold or put him in the race and have a go, he fights on.”

The quality of Saturday’s field adds to Pinseeker’s challenge of starting from a 20m handicap.

Cox is hopeful the excellent manners the horse has shown in his six starts to date can again be seen again at Winton.

“Most of his starts have all been stands and he hasn’t missed away yet,” Cox said.

“He is not always the quickest away, but he is generally safe and if he does the same on Saturday he shouldn’t settle too far behind them.”

Pinseeker was rated the early favourite for the Winton Cup ahead of the second favourite, Wag Star.

Wag Star returns to racing in the Winton feature after competing at the elite level through the spring.

Trainer Craig Ferguson admits his pacer’s lack of recent racing will count against him, but he still expects Wag Star to run a strong race.

“He has always been up against it, he has raced in some really good company,” Ferguson said.

“Saturday is no different, it is a really nice field with some really nice horses.”

“They have the advantage of having some racing under their belt.”

“We may need the run but on class alone he should go a good race.”

While Wag Star has pleased his trainer in his recent trials, Ferguson expects to see even more from the pacer under race conditions.

“He seems pretty good, the couple of workouts that he has had have been OK.”

“But he is like that – he seems to step up when he gets to the races.”

“Hopefully that is the case on Saturday.”

Wag Star will start from a 10m handicap in the Winton Cup, with his stablemate Cormac Leo in front of him on the front line.

“He has run a couple of good fourths, probably helped by his good beginnings,” Ferguson said.

“We are hoping that is the case again on Saturday.”

“Hopefully he makes a good beginning, gets handy and goes another good race.”

Mark Hurrell drives Wag Star in the Winton Cup with Brendon McLellan to combine with Cormac Leo.


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