Racing at Tamworth over the same 1400m distance as next week’s Tamworth Cup, Acrophobic was ridden a touch worse than midfield by apprentice Dylan Gibbons, but the pair worked into the race nicely as the big field turned for home on the Tamworth straight.
With 200m to go, the Cameron Crockett-trained and Brooke Stower-ridden Morpheus looked the winner, as the six-year-old took the front, but Acrophobic on his home track made up the ground, getting the bob in to win by 0.04 of a length, while a further 1.21 lengths away in third was the Stephen Jones-trained Herzegovina for jockey Aaron Bullock.
Acrophobic, which went around as a $2.20 favourite in the Tamworth Cup Prelude, was very good from gate 10 for Gibbons, and while the Australian Bloodstock runner will likely be one of the more fancied runners in the feature next week, Scone galloper Morpheus, which started $11, also deserves some praise after a big run.
The Scone galloper jumped well and was caught three and four wide before a good bit of riding from Stower had the gelding in a good position in behind the pace.
Both gallopers will be up against some handy types next week, with the $200,000 in prizemoney and the lure of the $2 million Big Dance no doubt set to attract plenty of talent from Sydney.
With the Tamworth feature race day just around the corner, Monday’s meeting showcased some good talent, and it was no different in the 2100m Mornington Prelude.
The Michael Mulholland-trained Foodie King was ridden quietly by Serg Lisnyy before arriving with a strong finish to take out the event from the Kris Lees-trained and Dylan Gibbons-ridden Endorphins by 0.28 of a length, while a fair space back was the Mark Jones-trained Dissenter for jockey Ash Morgan.
Endorphins and Foodie King basically travelled side-by-side over the staying trip before Gibbons made a move before the turn, taking the Newcastle galloper to the front.
Lisnyy was rewarded for his patience though when running over the top of the leader to record a well-deserved win on the Wellington galloper.
One would imagine that the pair will again do battle in the $50,000 Mornington in two Friday’s times.
It will be a huge day of racing at Tamworth next week, with the Tamworth Cup and Mornington Handicap complemented by the $50,000 Jardel Cup over the 1200m for fillies and mares, the $50,000 John Clift Memorial Benchmark 58 Handicap sprint over the 1000m, the $50,000 Country Magic Class One over the 1400m and the $40,000 Country Magic Showcase Plate over the 1000m journey.
$500,000 in prizemoney will be on offer on the day, and the meeting will attract some of the best gallopers from the North West and Hunter region, along with plenty of other visiting raiders looking to cash in on the country riches.
The club also has race day packages available for their Tamworth Cup meeting and readers can click here to find out more.