Julie Lynch has ‘little pony’ rearing to go for Armidale Cup ‘speed battle’

Julie Lynch believes Claptone is rearing to go ahead of Sunday’s $60,000 Armidale Cup.

Julie Lynch is expecting another fast and furious affair when Sunday’s $60,000 Armidale Cup is run and won, and she knows that her galloper Claptone will be among those setting the pace. 

“Nature Boy usually has to lead at all costs, and if he wants to tear away and take up the lead, we won’t be looking to get into a speed battle, and we’ll take a sit and get a cart a long,” Lynch said. 

“Still, he (Claptone) can run them along if he gets the lead. He’s tough, and the thing is, if they let him roll, he is hard to beat, so he does get taken on, but he is racing really well, and we’ll see how he goes.”

Billy Cray will be in the saddle, and from gate four, the pair won’t have to use much petrol to find a prominent position, but Lynch did pity any jockey that ends up in a head-to-head battle with Cray and her fit six-year-old. 

The Outreach gelding, which is a nine-time victor, including the 2021 Griffith Cup, has been racing well without winning, and two starts back, he led most of the way before going down by a nostril in the 1900m Benchmark 74 Handicap at Kempsey on November 10.

Last time out, the Kempsey galloper took on a much tougher $100,000 Taree Cup on November 19, and in a cut-throat style of race, he led at all costs and only faded in the final half-furlong, finishing fifth, beaten only three and a half lengths.  

“The first horse that takes him on at Armidale will be the first one beaten,” Lynch laughed. 

“They took him on in that 1900m at Kempsey, and he still kept kicking and was only beaten 0.02 of a length, and the horse that took him on was nowhere to be seen.

“It was a good run at Taree, and he was taken on again, but I was happy with the run, and I thought he kicked on again.

“It’s a tough race at Armidale, but if things go right for him, he can win it, but I don’t want to jinx it.”

Claptone has proven he handles Armidale, having started on the North West racecourse twice for a victory and third placing. 

He also enjoys a rain-affected track, boasting good soft and heavy form, so Lynch is happy with the soft six rating. 

“He handles the track, and it’s a tough run there for leaders, but it will suit him,” Lynch said. 

“Plus, he loves the wet, and if the track is wet, it will take the sprint out of it a bit, and that will only suit him.”

Claptone has been up and about for the best part of 18 months, and Lynch said her gelding was simply happy and raring to go.

“He loves the stable life and has been working as well as he ever has while we’ve had him,” Lynch said. 

“He’s only a little pony, but he thinks he is ten feet tall, bulletproof, and invincible,” Lynch laughed.

“He might be fifteen-two (hands) at the most, but he is a very athletic horse, and he’s happy.”

Lynch will take two chances to Armidale, with Fortune Ready second-up for the yard in the $50,000 Super Maiden Plate (1100m). 

Formerly trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, Lynch was pleased with the More Than Ready mare’s first-up run at Taree in a tougher $50,000 Super Maiden at Taree on November 19, and she expects the four-year-old to strip fitter for the effort at Armidale.

“I’ve only given her one start, and we took her to Taree and put her in a $50,000 maiden for a trial, and she picked up $1,500 for the run,” Lynch said. 

“She went a little better than I thought she would because she needed the run, as I don’t believe in trialling.

“I would have liked to put her over 1200m rather than 1100m, but she is there to do something, and I would expect her to improve a lot on that first run.” 

As always, it is a big day in Armidale on Sunday, and for more on the meeting, click here

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