Queanbeyan and Moruya based trainer Joe Cleary has his eyes firmly fixed on both feature races at the Moruya Jockey Club’s eight-race Narooma Cup meeting on Sunday.
Cleary will start veteran sprinter Up Trumpz in the $27,000 1010m Narooma Town Plate and Mathew Cahill hops aboard the $6.50 chance.
Following a 14-week spell, Up Trumpz finished third in the Queanbeyan Thunderbolt last start and Cleary believes the seven-year-old is primed for a big showing at Moruya.
“I’m really, really happy with how Up Trumpz has come along since the Thunderbolt,” Cleary said.
The consistent sprinter has started 53 times for five winners and 22 minor placings, and Cleary said his old stager would be suited to running for country feature races in the South East region.
“We want to keep him on fresh legs, and we want to target these coastal Town Plates, with two at Moruya and one at Bega,” Cleary said.
“We are giving Sydney the wide berth at the moment. He has been a great little money spinner for the Shires family, and he is not too far off cracking $300,00 in prizemoney.”
In the $29,000 Narooma Cup, Cleary has his enigmatic mare Girls Are Ready currently rated the $4 favourite, with Jess Taylor taking the ride in the 1300m Open Handicap.
The five-year-old mare has returned in terrific form this preparation, resuming with a third placing in the 1200m Benchmark 72 at Queanbeyan, before a very good third at Canberra in the 1200m Benchmark 65.
Last start, Girls Are Ready greeted the judge first, streaking away for a three-length victory in the 1400m TAB Federal at Canberra.
“She is just really in the zone and the moment,” Cleary said.
“She has come back really good this prep. She run super first-up and her win at Canberra was dynamic. She won by three lengths, and she looks to be back to her best.”
Girls Are Ready could be on the path to the $75,000 Moruya Cup on January 3, although Cleary was toying with the prospect of heading north for a Magic Millions race.
“There is a minor chance we might head to the Gold Coast for the fillies and mares’ race, otherwise she will head to the Moruya Cup on the January 3,” Cleary said.
It will be a big day of racing and festivities at Moruya Jockey Club on Sunday, with the Christmas Cup the third of the feature races on the eight-race-program.
The club also kicks off the Sandy Cummins ‘Summer Series’, which is set to reward trainers and jockeys that race at Moruya across all three of their Summer meetings.
Following Sunday’s meeting and the club’s Moruya Cup January 3 and January 13 meetings, the leading trainer will win a cash prize of $3000, while the leading jockey will be $1500 richer for their efforts.