LOCAL trainer Scott Cumming obviously wants Landmarks to win Friday’s Casino RSM Club Beef Week Cup (1400m), but he’s just happy to have him racing after a brush with death last year.
The five-year-old, who had already won the Casino Cup, was completing a routine track gallop one morning when he hit the running rail and ended up with a badly cut leg.
A decision had to be made as to whether he could be saved.
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“It nearly killed him, but the vet was there quick enough to save him,” Cumming said.
“It’s taken a while to get him back but between vets, chiropractor and acupuncture visits, he’s got back and he’s pretty well right again.
MATT JONES’S BEST BETS
BEST BET: BRONZED VENOM (Race 7, No. 13)
He’ll be much better second-up for a strong stable and has raced in good enough grade to suggest, with a light weight, he’ll be up to these.
NEXT BEST: RISPETTA (Race 8, No. 2)
The real Rispetta will turn up now that she’s out to 1400m at which she’s won twice from three starts. She’s third-up and at peak fitness.
VALUE BET: MECUM (Race 4, No. 4)
He brings up good enough Victorian form to do well in this grade or race. He was trained by Darren Weir and a good first NSW performance wouldn’t surprise.
Race 5: 2, 3, 5, 10; Race 6: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7; Race 7: 1, 5, 9, 12, 13; Race 8: 2, 5, 6, 7
TRAINER TO WATCH
TOBY EDMONDS brings a strong team of horses here and a number of them are first-starters. It will be interesting to see how much he’s improved them.
JOCKEY TO WATCH
MATTHEW MCGUREN has six rides and they all present nice value. He can get punters out of trouble in the last race with Rispetta for trainer Brett Bellamy.
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“There’s a physical scar but not a mental one. He was stepping short for a while, but it’s all started to loosen up and he’s stretching out now.
“I think he’s back to where he was before it happened and he’ll be putting his best foot forward.”
Landmarks, formally trained by John O’Shea, is coming off a ninth placing at the Gold Coast.
He was only three lengths off the winner Slydini and was backed in from $41 to $13.
He’ll be fitter for the run and is undefeated at Casino from two starts and his trainer said he was “coming nicely” since his accident.
He also feels the home track advantage will play its part.
“He’s been working well and he has a bit of a wide barrier but he’s won from wide gates before. I’m just hoping the pace is on and he has something to fight against,” Cumming said.
“He’ll have to go forward but it’s a long straight from the 1400m to the 600m.
“It’s hard race. There are a few horses there that have won more than $200,000, but if they work well on the Casino track they normally run well on it.
“He knows the track backwards and when they come up the hill they knock up a little bit.”
Cumming’s other runner on the card is his ageing speedster Hide The Moon, who also loves racing at home.
He’ll be making his own luck out in front in the Casino Flying (1000m).
“He seems to be galloping fine,” Cumming said. “I hope he’s up on the speed after missing the kick in a good field last start. He’s getting a bit old but he’s still got the speed in his track gallops at home.”
Hide The Moon is an eight-year-old now and has recorded track records more than once over 1000m in the past. But he needs to lift to win this race. He’s just been a touch below his best of late, but Cumming feels he can still give a good sight.
The track is likely to be a good surface too which will help a lot because some of the other runners such as Dreamalina will want rain to fall.
“It’s going to be a hard day because there’s a lot of good horses going around, but I’m hoping mine are both big chances,” he said. “I hope my ones are in front when it counts.”
INSIDE MAIL WITH MATT JONES
RACE 1 (12.15pm)
10. Serlina finished last of 14 at her only run late last year but that was in a Listed race. This is much easier. 4. Gemelli comes into this off a 10-length trial win, but prior to that he raced only fairly in bush grade in Queensland. 2. Beach Baby and 3. La Pulga trialled best of the first-starters.
BETTING STRATEGY: SERLINA to win.
RACE 2 (12.50pm)
7. Caishen In couldn’t have done much more to impress in her two lead-up trials and is now in the Toby Edmonds yard, so expect a nice run. But she’ll need to lift off her previous form. 8. Haiku’s Way should be leading or in the first three and she hasn’t been far off winning this preparation. She’s third-up and ready to fire. 9. Little Bit Of Suzy will improve at start two and, if she gets some cover, she’ll finish off better than on debut. 2. Indian Star is a danger.
BETTING STRATEGY: HAIKU’S WAY to win.
RACE 3 (1.25pm)
11. Spanish Steps produced a nice first-up performance and can go on with it. With natural improvement, she can convert that form into a win over a more suitable trip. 13. Yeah The Boys tends to get back and run on, but the stable has put the blinkers back on again and that should make a difference. 5. Eddieado should take advantage of the inside draw and set the pace. 3. D’Oro Magic is having her first start for Toby Edmonds and has trialled well enough to consider. 1. Acclaimed First needs to lift but might do better up to 1300m.
BETTING STRATEGY: SPANISH STEPS to win.
RACE 4 (2pm)
2. Flim Flan Man is on fire and loves 1000m. He has to carry 58kg but it shouldn’t affect his chances over the quick trip. He’ll sit just in behind the speed and if he’s produced at the right time, he can let down and win again. 1. One Stryke is the likely leader and he’ll make his rivals work. 4. Mecum is an ex-Darren Weir-trained runner and brings sound Victorian form to Casino despite the trip being a touch short. 3. Rock On Destiny is a danger, as is 10. Dutch Gal, who comes off a four-length win at the Sunshine Coast.
BETTING STRATEGY: Quinella 2, 4.
RACE 5 (2.35pm)
2. Phast Lad races well at home and has been consistent this year without winning. He’s never won over 1200m, but I don’t think we should read much into that. 14. Pricing Power isn’t the punters’ pal but trialled nicely and the new stable might change things. This isn’t her hardest task. The well-bred 10. San Sierra will welcome any rain and comes off a nice last-start win. 3. Tyrannize and 5. Jakuta can threaten.
BETTING STRATEGY: SAN SIERRA to win.
RACE 6 (3.10pm)
Virtually all of these runners like to be up on the speed, so this is going to be a ding-dong battle early. 2. Powerful Saga trialled well and not having won in a year means he’s dropping down to a more suitable grade. Some rain is forecast and 4. Elite Dubleo and 5. Dreamalina need every bit of it. 6. La Dolce Vita wants it dry and drops well in grade for this. She’s going well enough to get the job done.
BETTING STRATEGY: La Dolce Vita to win.
RACE 7 (3.45pm)
9. Awake The Stars should push forward from an inside draw and lead. She’s great over 1400m. 1. Allknight Saint is in good form and is rock-hard fit for this but gives away 7kg to the majority of the field. 12. Landmarks is unbeaten at the track and thrives over 1400m. She is starting to get back into form after a life-threatening injury. 13. Bronzed Venom goes better second-up and he’s more than proven in strong races. Well in at the weights.
BETTING STRATEGY: BRONZED VENOM to win.
RACE 8 (4.20pm)
2. Rispetta is a different horse when she gets out to 1400m and she should produce a much better result third-up. She’s won two from three attempts at the trip. 5. Field Of Fire will also race much better at 1400m. If the rain stays away, he should peak here. 7. Stellar Jewel doesn’t win until she gets to this distance and she, too, is third-up, fit and ready. She wants a bit of give in the track. 6. Haylee Prince is running well without winning in Queensland.
BETTING STRATEGY: Boxed trifecta 2, 5, 6, 7.