Queenslanders will be cheering home First Crush for a home town victory in the Listed $175,000 Scott McMahon Electrical Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
The Southerners have taken all before them during the 2018 Queensland Winter Racing Carnival but trainer Chris Munce is giving his stayer First Crush a great chance to reverse the trend this week.
First Crush was beaten a nose by the Darren Weir trained Tradesman in a head bobbing finish in the Listed $175,000 Channel 7 Ipswich Cup (2150m) at Ipswich on June 16 and the Munce trained galloper meets the Victorian 2kg better in the Caloundra Cup.
“His Ipswich Cup run was super and I thought his lead-up runs were terrific, particularly in the weight-for-age race (Lord Mayor’s Cup),” Munce told Racing Queensland News.
“He was only one or two lengths behind Group 1 horses and had to be ridden out of his comfort zone.”
The Sunshine Coast track was rated a heavy 8 on Thursday but Munce said that First Crush would have no trouble handling the wet conditions and he would be proud to fly the flag for Queensland in the Caloundra Cup.
“A wet track won’t worry him either,” Munce said.
“It’d be a great honour to win the Caloundra Cup as a trainer and I think I’ve got the right horse to do it.”
“He’s the best stayer I’ve had and the most honest and genuine.”
New Zealand based Mark Du Plessis takes over the resins from Matthew McGillivray on First Crush who will jump from barrier seven in the sixteen horse Caloundra Cup field.
First Crush is currently marked at $9.50 for the Caloundra Cup with Ladbrokes.com.au on the fourth line of betting behind Tradesman at $3.70, Megablast at $4 and Nurse Kitchen at $5.
Tradesman is lining up for his third successive Saturday and after winning the Ipswich Cup was a game second to Divine Unicorn in the Group 3 $200,000 Lazy Yak Tattersall’s Cup (2200m) at Doomben last Saturday.
Brad Rawiller is the third rider in as many starts for Tradesman, replacing Blake Shinn, and the Weir trained gelding has to overcome an awkward barrier at thirteen.
The Kiwi stayer Megablast is going into the Caloundra Cup without a run for a month after running third behind Egg Tart and Tradesman in the Group 2 $200,000 Bradford Access Insulation P.J. O’Shea Stakes (2200m) at the Sunshine Coast on June 2 but is still very solid in the betting.
Damian Browne will stick with the Nigel Tiley trained Megablast who will jump from gate ten.