Past winners could run in Gold Cup
WHILE there will be plenty of ‘ifs and buts’ until Thursday, August 5, rolls around ... it’s conceivable as many as four past winners of the Coffs Harbour Gold Cup will be angling for a run in the feature event on that day.
The 2005 champion Concitare has been retired but subsequent winners Mr Gold Fire, Derivative Receipt, Belmonte and Legendary Man are still professional racing animals, with the Coffs Coast’s biggest event looming large on their future agendas.
Charismatic gelding Mr Gold Fire who won the Cup in 2006 began his final season on the racetrack yesterday in a 1250m Open Handicap at Taree, his first run since finishing sixth in last year’s Port Macquarie Cup.
Along with Coffs Harbour, he won the Taree Cup twice, as well as Ballina and Lismore’s Centenary Cup and part owner-trainer Jim Jarvis will follow the same trail again, finishing with the Port feature later in the spring.
“We have a paddock marked out for him on our farm and he will spend his retirement looking out over the Orara River,” Jarvis said.
The toughest comeback trail will be that attempted by Derivative Receipt.
Despite some reports the horse had been retired, trainer Keith Hiscox remains hopeful the horse which won at Coffs in 2007 while still a Class 2 competitor, can overcome a suspensory ligament injury which ruled him out of Monday’s Armidale Cup and be back for the coastal carnivals.
“He’s not a young horse anymore but hopefully we can spell him and give him another campaign,” the trainer announced.
Down in the national capital, trainer Bernie Howlett’s daughter, Melinda, said flashy veteran Belmonte is still stopping traffic with his looks.
“He really is the most beautiful looking horse and we have people pulling up outside his paddock to take photos all the time,” she said.
“Everybody remarks about what a stunner he is and he’s just over there now, chilling out with the other horses.”
The stable will bring a team north for the Brisbane winter carnival and while the search for suitable races continues, another attempt on the Coffs Cup hasn’t been ruled out.
“By the end of this month we’ll have him back into work but because he’s so prone to injury, there’s no certainty how his progress will go,” Melinda Howlett added.
“Still too early to tell but, you never know.”
And then there’s the titleholder, the enigmatic Legendary Man.
Part-owner Warren Skinner and trainer Ken Lantry never hold back in their affection for the flashy chestnut that has suffered more injuries than a battling prize-fighter, yet still keeps coming back for more.
“Kenny’s got him in work and he’s not far off racing,” Skinner said.
“It would be like a dream to get him back in August for another go.”
Actually, trainer Lantry is toying with the idea of starting in Brisbane on Easter Monday.
“In another week, I’ll weigh up his progress and make a final decision,” he revealed.
“After last year’s win, we gave ourselves time to get over it ... and the horse as well ... and he had a good break in the paddock.
“He went to Sydney for a couple of runs but wasn’t 100 per cent right, so we gave him another breather and this time looks fantastic.
“It’s up to Legendary Man himself but if all goes well, no reason why he can’t be right for August.”