The Stewart Campbell trained Macchina Volante will contest Saturday’s Casino Cup, which will be the first leg of an attempt to win back-to-back Northern Rivers feature races.
“His first couple of runs this preparation have been fantastic, and hopefully he will do a bit better tomorrow (Saturday),” Campbell said.
“He might be one run short, then he will go to the Murwillumbah Cup 13 days later – that has been the been the plan all the way.”
The Hinchinbrook gelding is a four-time winner from 15 starts, having put together an impressive run of wins earlier last year, starting with back-to-back victories at Murwillumbah before greeting the judge first at both Grafton and Casino.
Campbell believed Macchina Volante was returning to similar form that led to his winning run..
“He is going as good as he has gone for a long while,” Campbell said.
“He may need one more run under his belt, but he is going good, and we are very happy with him.”
After running fifth in the Grafton Guineas on July 8, 2020, the Murwillumbah galloper has raced seven times without recording a win, running minor placings at Lismore and the Gold Coast.
“After the Grafton Guineas run, he ran fifth in that with 60-odd kilos and from barrier 13 but we spelled him and we were hoping to get in The Kosciuszko or something like that but he missed out, so we ran him in an open sprint on Lismore Cup day and he ran a great third,” Campbell said.
“Then I tipped him out, and he never really came good. I took him to Brisbane one day, it was a really muggy, hot day and he kicked the bejeebers out of the float and looking back, I should have scratched him to be honest.
“After that, I tipped him out and first up, he ran a shocker at Grafton, and a couple of days later, one of his legs was up like a lamp post, and he ended up with an infection.”
Campbell believes he now has his galloper right, and after solid first and second-up runs at Doomben and Eagle Farm this preparation, he hoped there were more wins on the horizon for his galloper and a loyal group of owners.
“We only keep a couple in work, and he is doing what he needs to do,” Campbell said.
“He has a great bunch of owners and they back us all the way and it would be nice to see him go well for them.”
Boosting his chances will be Ben Looker, who jumps aboard, with the popular Northern Rivers hoop having won on him in the past.
“This will be the first time he has been on since he won on him,” Campbell said.
“He knows the horse; he always had a bit of an opinion of him.”
The $30,000 event has attracted some in-form and talented types, with Maclean Cup runner up and Sawtell Cup placegetter Prima Stella likely to start favourite for Kempsey trainer Ricky Simonetta and jockey Matthew McGuren.
Another big hope looks to be Glenn Innes galloper Terrius for trainer Terry Vidler.
The five-year-old has won some nice races in Queensland and looks suited to this event second up after a front-running effort at Moree last time out.
The Casino Racing Club are looking forward to a big day on Saturday, highlighted by their seven-race-program.
Gates open at 11am and the first race is scheduled to jump at 12.01pm.
The big screen is on course, entry is $10, while those wanting to make a weekend of it, the Hotel Cecil Calcutta will be held this evening and more information on the event can be found by clicking here.