By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THE recent results speak for themselves when it comes to the chances of local horse Famous Dane in today's Coffs Harbour Gold Cup.
On ANZAC Day, the five year-old gelding won the Services Memorial Cup in Sydney and has followed up with a second in the Stayers and Caloundra Cups, an eighth in the Group 1 Brisbane Cup and last start finished a creditable fifth in the Grafton Cup.
The last run in Grafton was on a good track but there's a strong train of thought that Famous Dane is only worth backing on a wet track.
Coffs Harbour trainer Philip Minter scoffs at suggestions that Famous Dane can't run on top of the ground.
"He likes the dry, it's just that he can handle the wet," Minter said.
"I'd say that his best track is a dead one but the dry isn't a worry for him."
To watch Famous Dane parade around is to cast your eye over an extremely fit horse but on a day when Jennifer Hawkins will be at the track it's probably fair to say that he's not the best looking horse in the Minter stables.
Like the great Dulcify, Famous Dane has a severe parrot mouth (overbite) and when he gets running he's a wind-sucker which can fill the stomach with air.
This is part of the reson for the horses stable name of 'Hoover'.
"He just sucks on everything and he's a great eater, he sucks all that down too," the trainer said.
"I don't think he would've left too many handfuls of feed during his career."
The wind-sucking and overbite issues have never been too much of a concern for Famous Dane though as he always gives the impression that he can run all day let alone the 2,300 meters that today's feature race covers.
Considering the bloodlines that Famous Dane has, the purchase price of $8,000 has to be considered a bargain basement price for Danehill progeny.
Especially when Forest Dane's grand dam is a full sister to the dam of Cox Plate winner Strawberry Road.
Strong bloodlines indeed but are they strong enough for him top become the first local horse since the Brian Balding trained Sabre Luck in 1991 to win the Coffs Harbour Cup?
"He's got as good a chance as most of the horses in the field but 2300m is as short as you want to go with him," Minter said.
"Depending on the weights and what other horses are in the field I'd say say he's one of the fancied runners.
"To be honest, though, we're just happy to have a runner in our own cup."