Morgan ready to rumble in WRA qualifier

Ash Morgan will combine with the Clint Lundholm-trained Watch Me Rumble in Sunday’s Western Racing Association Country Championship qualifier at Coonamble. Photo: Bradley Photos.

The final regional qualifier for the 2023 Country Championships will be run at Coonamble on Sunday, with the best of the west set to do battle in the $150,000 WRA event. 

Much of the media’s attention has been on Dubbo trainer Clint Lundholm, and the incredible fact that he will potentially have 10 starters in the qualifier, and in particular the likes of second-favourite Listen To The Bank ($4.60, Jake Pracey-Holmes), and 2022 WRA qualifier runner-up Amulet Street ($10, Grant Buckley), which went on to run third to Another One in the final. 

Welsh jockey Ashley Morgan doesn’t mind the attention going on other horses, but he believes he is on the right runner when jumping on Watch Me Rumble, which is currently third-favourite at $5 with Thunderbet

“I feel like I’m on the better of his (Lundholm’s) chances,” Morgan said.  

“Obviously Amulet Street has the form on the board, and he qualified for the final last year and run well in it, but I feel like my mare has a bit more upside on the majority of the field.”

Morgan should know too, as he has ridden her three times for two victories and a fourth, while the four-year-old has started 14 times for four wins and three minor placings. 

Watch Me Rumble did finish sixth in the WRA qualifier behind the Brett Robb-trained Great Buy in 2022, but since then, she has raced five times, registering back-to-back wins.

Two starts back, she won the 1350m Benchmark 58 Handicap at Newcastle in November of last year before resuming from an 11-week let-up at Bathurst on February 6 when winning the Central Districts Country Championships qualifier Prelude over 1200m, beating eventual Central Districts qualifier winner Amicus Curiae.

“She raced in the (WRA) qualifier last year, and it was probably 12 months too soon for her and I won on her on the Beaumont (at Newcastle), and she looks to have come on,” Morgan said. 

“A spell and bit of a break did her the world of good, and she has come back better, and it was good to see her win well at Bathurst.

“Amicus Curiae was second that day, and it obviously won the Mudgee heat, and the form of that run is strong going into this.”

After drawing gate two in Sunday’s qualifier, Morgan believes the Dubbo mare will get the run of the race.

“She has drawn a nice gate and it means she doesn’t really have to do any work,” Morgan said. 

“I will ride her wherever she is comfortable as she is not really a horse you can drive into a spot or restrain and go back, and the beauty of the two barrier is that I’ll probably be about third or fourth and in a good position once everything settles down.

“The long straight will suit her too, and hopefully there is a bit of speed in the race. There has been a few moderate tempos in other qualifiers, but I think there will be some pace this time and I’ll guess we will see what happens on Sunday.”

It’s an open WRA Country Championships qualifier, with the Brett Robb-trained Boom Boom Basil the current $4.20 favourite, while there are six runners $10 and under. 

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