Cannonball to Kosciuszko: Brett Thompson’s grand plans for Kookabaa

Ronald Simpson guides the Brett Thompson trained Kookabaa accross the line for a win in the 1000m Benchmark 66 Handicap at Dubbo Turf Club. Photo: Sarsfield Racing Photography.

Brett Thompson believes he might have a genuine Kosciuszko contender with in-form sprinter, Kookabaa

The Hinchinbrook gelding, who is only three runs into his time with the Gulgong trainer, won an 1100m Class Three at Mudgee before getting home for another win in the Benchmark 66 at Dubbo

Most recently, the five-year-old finished second in an Open handicap sprint at Dubbo, beaten marginally by Under The Thumb in a slashing time.

Up next will be the annual Coonamble Cannonball on Sunday, an annually tough 1100m Open Handicap sprint that often attracts some of best country sprinters in NSW.

“The Cannonball is definitely right up his alley; his run at Mudgee was a good run but his last run was his best run, running 56 seconds like that, you very seldom get beat, so it was a good effort,” Thompson said. 

The former Gayna Williams runner has seemingly grown a leg since arriving in Thompson’s stable, and the astute country trainer said it all came down to a change in racing tactics. 

“We dropped him back in distance, put him up on the speed and he obviously picked up some confidence in his first race,” Thompson said. 

“He’s shown some guts; a lot of horses, when they get back in the field they look at what’s in front of them and think they can’t win, but when they are up there and thinking they can win, they fight a lot of harder and he seems to like to know he can win.”

In the stables though, Kookabaa is as quite as a mouse, and a well natured professional according to Thompson.  

“He is a good really horse to train, he is really easy going, eats good and is well natured; he just does everything right,” Thompson said. 

Connections of Kookabaa will be willing their talented sprinter to keep up his recent form when contesting Sunday’s feature event at Coonamble, which they believe could be a stepping-stone into the $1.3 million Kosciuszko, scheduled for October 17 at Royal Randwick

“There is definitely stable confidence for Sunday’s race; we are not a betting stable but we are going down there and thinking he is a top three horse,” Thompson said. 

“Sue Grills’ horse (Burning Crown) will be hard to beat, it has been racing in tougher races and is very classy and he (Kookabaa) needs to beat a horse like Burning Crown on the weekend to be a chance in the Kosciuszko.”

Thompson said the key to qualifying for such a lucrative feature race was for Kookabaa to keep progressing and performing. 

“I think he will be a 1200-1300m horse; we haven’t had a chance to get him there yet but as long as he keeps progressing, he will get a chance,” Thompson said. 

“He will go for a spell after this run and come back to run 1400m and we know he can run on heavy tracks, which is what he will have to do around the time of the Kosciuszko.”

On the weekend, the in-form Ronald Simpson stays in the saddle for his fourth consecutive run on Kookabaa, something Thompson thinks will only help their causes.

“He (Ronald Simpson) helps with the three-kilogram claim, he knows the horse and has ridden the horse well these three runs,” Thompson said.

“He needs to keep getting better too, it’s the same as the horse, they both need to keep progressing and right now, they are both getting the job done.” 

The Cannonball won’t be the only competitive race on Sunday either, with the Coonamble hosting a very good eight-race showcase meeting with all races carrying a prize purse of $27,000 and the cannonball worth a tidy $31,500.