Mackay trainer hopes three's a charm on Cup Day
HORSE RACING: Far from the famed Flemington straight, where skyscraper backdrops are replaced by canefields, Mackay trainer Rebecca Binder hopes three's a charm on Melbourne Cup Day.
Coming off two consecutive seconds, Binder's boom mare Lamerican is primed for a big run, with a victory offering the opportunity of passing a rare regional milestone.
"One more (win) and she'll hit the $100,000 mark for prize money,” Binder said.
"Not many horses, up this way especially, get to the hundred thousand. It just proves that she's a good horse and to get to that milestone would be phenomenal.”
Juggling training with a full-time career, Binder is on track by 4am daily, before going to work, only to come back and do it all again in the afternoon.
Already a past winner on racing's biggest day, Binder said the demanding schedule was "all worth it” and is confident this year could deliver a repeat dose.
One of three gun horses in Binder's stable, seven-year-old Lamerican has been ever-consistent since coming under the trainer's watchful eye around three-and-a-half years ago.
Recording a win and two seconds from its four starts this season, the sprinter has recorded five wins, 12 seconds and 12 thirds from its 53 career starts.
While not expecting to be chasing the milestone on Melbourne Cup Day, the planets aligned with regular jockey Rhiannon Payne offering her services and Binder said the horse affectionately known as Annie was always ready to race.
"We weren't going to start her, but Rhiannon said she'd come up if we (would),” she said.
"She's been our jock for a while now... she's dedicated and wants to ride and Lamerican's racing really well at the moment.
"She should be winding down (at 7), but she's winding up, and she's like a fine bottle of wine.
Lamerican's recent seconds have come in class 6 company over 1050m and 1100m respectively and while stepping up to the "unknown” of Benchmark 70 level over 1200m on Tuesday, Binder wasn't deterred due to the horse's versatility.
Confident on all track types, a lack of rain and hot conditions won't affect Binder's race planning, with Lamerican winning on both good and soft surfaces over the journey.
"The horses who beat her (last two starts) were smart horses; the first one was Lyle Wright (trained) and the last one was a Trinity Bannon... she was beaten, but they were really good horses,” Binder said.
"She's got to be competitive (Tuesday), but she pulled up fine after her last start. She's a pretty cruisey mare and I think she'll be hard to beat.”
Regardless of what happens on Tuesday, Binder hailed Racing Queensland's confirmation of an injection of $18 million in prize money increases, which are set to be introduced from today's Ipswich meeting.
With a further $8 million coming over the next six months, $26 million will be distributed into the industry annually, including a "Northern Provincial Showcase”.
Alternated between Mackay, Townsville, Cairns and Rockhampton, the Showcase meeting will see $19,000 up for grabs in each race, a provincial increase of $5000.
"It's a win for everyone and a big plus,” Binder said.
"We're not metro (based), and we need to bring people in, especially young people. It's good for the owners as they've got to pay their bills too... everything is going up, and we've got to keep the industry going.”
Lamerican's benchmark 70 will be part of a seven-race-card at Mackay Turf Club on Tuesday.
Nominations are set to be finalised on Friday.