Local trainer Trinity Bannon is hoping for a home town victory when she saddles up Old Smokey in the $75,000 Mackay Cup (1800m) at Ooralea Race Course in Mackay on Saturday.
Old Smokey will again be up against short priced favourite Craiglea Deken after finishing third to the Krystle Johnston trained gelding in the weight for age $25,000 H.L. Black Memorial (1560m) at Mackay on June 15.
Old Smokey was beaten one and a half lengths in the H.L. Black Memorial but back under the Handicap conditions of the Mackay Cup, the Bannon trained five year old will meet Craiglea Deken 7kg better off.
The Glenda Bell trained Fastnet Flyer, who ran second to Craiglea Deken in H.L. Black Memorial, also meets the top weight 7kg better.
Old Smokey has been racing consistently for Bannon and prior to his last start third, was a winner three starts back in a 1300m BenchMark 70 Handicap at Townsville on May 25 followed by a second in the 1600m $25,000 Tattersalls Gold Cup at Rockhampton June 10.
While Old Smokey heads into the Mackay Cup in fine form, no can deny that Craiglea Deken is the horse to beat after stringing together six wins from his last six starts with five consecutive victories in Townsville since April followed by a last start win at Mackay in the H.L. Black Memorial.
Apprentice Quayde Krogh takes over from Graham Kliese on Old Smokey who will jump from barrier nine in the twelve horse Mackay Cup field while leading North Queensland’s leading rider Adrian Coome rides Craiglea Deken again from gate eight.