Todd Smart will hope to add the Cootamundra Cup to his cabinet of locally owned trophies when sending Tobermory around in the $29,000 feature race today.
The seven-year-old will jump from gate seven in the 1600m Open Handicap, and with this racing being a steep jump up in class compared to his previous outings, he will only have to carry 55kg.
“He is down in the weights, he won’t know himself with 55kg,” Smart laughed.
“He galloped well on Tuesday and from barrier 7, he will be there if he is good enough.”
The Mosayter gelding is a five-time winner from 24 starts and returned from an 80-week spell to win first-up in a Benchmark 66 Handicap over the 1000m at Albury back in August.
Since then, Tobermory has been racing against some handy provincial gallopers, carrying decent weight on each occasion when finishing down the track at Goulburn twice and Hawkesbury most recently.
“He has been racing at the provincials, which is harder, and he went over 1800m the other day, but it was a bit too far,” Smart said.
“I think winning and going so well in a fast 1000m after so much time off took him a little while to get over, but he is going well now, and I expect him to run well in the Cootamundra Cup.”
Smart rates his winning chances highly and said Tobermory is in career best form based on his work at home.
“If you look at his form 24 months ago, he just got beat (finishing third) in the Ted Ryder Cup at Wagga, and I think that’s the form he is in right now; he feels and looks really good,” Smart said.
A mile should suit the Canberra galloper, and Smart said Tobermory was primed for the rescheduled Cootamundra Cup after it was washed out on October 3.
“I think he jumped and ran well but he peaked on his run over 1800m last start,” Smart said.
“See, we missed the Coota Cup just before that, now he has had that hard hit out and he comes back fitter and ready for the race.
“I think 1600m is his go and I think he is ready to fire.”
Cootamundra is still quite wet in patches following weeks of on and off again rain, and it was rated a heavy eight at the time of publication, which plays right into the hooves of Tobermory, with the gelding boasting an imposing record of 10 starts for four wins and two placings on rain affected tracks.
“He does like a bit of give in the ground, and if you are looking for a horse that gets through the softer part of the track, that’s him,” Smart said.
Tobermory’s cup assignment is just one of many local chances in action at Cootamundra Today.
David Blundell has Power of Mandala racing in the 1200m Class One Handicap.
The locally-trained eight-year-old was previously trained by Mitch Freedman, and since joining Blundell’s Gundagai’s stable, he has finished well down the track at Wagga and Albury.
Tumut trainer Kerry Weir will have Ilovebangkok, Wicked’s Redoutes and Crocodile Cod in action and the Tumut-owned Cyborg will compete in the feature against Tobermory for Canberra trainer, Norm Gardner.