The Kosciuszko runner by runner preview

Tommy Berry led Art Cadeau to victory in the 2021 Country Championships final. Photo: Steve Hart.

Country gallopers from across the state will converge on Royal Randwick on Saturday for the running of the $2 million country-only The Kosciuszko.

NSW Country and Picnic racing Editor Jeff Hanson has run his eye over the stellar field and has commented on each runner’s chances in the 1200m feature sprint. 

1. Art Cadeau 

Trainer: Terry Robinson

Jockey: Damian Lane

Record: 20:7-8

TAB price: $11

Summary: The defending champion draws nicely with gate three and he rediscovered his best form last preparation, winning the Octagonal over 1400m back in May. 

There are some question marks as to whether the six-year-old is going as well as last year, but if he finds his best form, he will take some beating.  

2. Handle The Truth 

Trainer: Keith Dryden

Jockey: Nash Rawiller

Record: 36:9-9

TAB price: $7.50

Summary: An absolute champion country galloper that will be running in his fourth Kosciuszko.

Handle The Truth won in 2019, finished fourth to It’s Me in 2020, and finished second to Art Cadeau last year.

The seven-year-old ran a good third to Eduardo two starts back in the Concorde Stakes, and there is no doubting Keith Dryden will have him ready for this event. 

3. Front Page

Trainer: Geoff Duryea 

Jockey: Tyler Schiller 

Record: 13:5-3

TAB price: $5

Summary: The Corowa galloper has had no luck in recent seasons and has either been a late scratching or withdrawal from both The Kosciuszko and Country Championships. 

The six-year-old won the Wagga Town Plate last preparation, defeating Mnementh and Another One. 

He is a talented sprinter and he gets a good draw as connections chase some good luck and a deserved feature-race win.

4. Mnementh 

Trainer: Mitchell Beer

Jockey: Chad Schofield 

Record: 23:7-7

TAB price: $23

Summary: One of the first picked for his Albury trainer Mitch Beer and the six-year-old deserves his chance. 

A seven-time winner and proven city winner that knows how to get the job done, but gate 12 isn’t a kind draw for connections. 

5. Another One

Trainer: Gary Colvin

The Gary Colvin-trained Another One, ridden by Nick Heywood, won the 2022 Country Championships. Photos: Bradley Photos.

Jockey: William Pike

Record: 16:6-5

TAB price: $19

Summary: The Country Championship winner and pride of the Southern Districts comes into this race following two good trial wins. 

The five-year-old has been on the drift in the markets despite drawing gate one and attracting the services of William Pike, but if he is fit and firing, he is more than capable at good odds. 

6. Far Too Easy

Trainer: David McColm 

Jockey: James Orman

Record: 11:6-1

TAB price: $5.50

Summary: Not many trainers deserve a feature race win more than David McColm. 

The Murwillumbah trainer had to deal with the floods earlier this year and Far Too Easy has been the stable’s bright spot. 

A last-start win over 1100m at the Gold Coast suggests the four-year-old will be up for the race, but I question whether he is a year away from his best form.

7. Fender

Trainer: Brett Cavanough 

Jockey: Sam Clipperton

Record: 23:6-4

TAB price: $23

Summary: The first of the two Brett Cavanough runners. The six-year-old has been racing in good races of late without winning, but this race is another step up and it might be a tough job from gate 14.

8. It’s Me

Trainer: Brett Cavanough 

Jockey: James McDonald 

Record: 9:5-0

TAB price: $4

Summary: The race-favourite and past winner of The Kosciuszko.

The second of Brett Cavanough’s runners. It’s Me was a strong winner in 2020 before being withdrawn in the lead-up to Art Cadeau’s win in 2021.

The six-year-old has a motor and she proved that she was back to her best form, winning at Eagle Farm back in August before running a good fourth in the Group 2 Sheraco Stakes last month. 

9. Cavalier Charles

Trainer: Matthew Dale

Jockey: Nick Heywood

Record: 13:5-4

TAB price: $41

Summary: One of the roughies in the race.

Nick Heywood jumps aboard, and he will be looking to win a feature-race double after helping Another One to Country Championships glory back in April. 

This is a tough race though, and the Canberra runner might be a little bit off the mark.

10. Anethole

Trainer: Cody Morgan

Jockey: Tom Sherry

Record: 19:4-7

TAB price: $11

Summary: The first of Cody Morgan’s trio and the one punters like the most. 

He finished sixth in the Country Championships after winning the Hunter North West qualifier last preparation but some of his best efforts have been over 1200m and he looks to be a thereabouts chance. 

The Tamworth galloper wasn’t disgraced when finishing eighth and beaten 4.67 lengths by Nature Strip in The Shorts last start and a similar effort would see him go close here.

Photo: The Cody Morgan-trained Anethole after winning the Hunter North West Country Championships qualifier at Tamworth last year. Photos: Bradley Photos.

11. Spiranac

Trainer: Rodney Northam

Jockey: Reece Jones

Record: 17:6-4

TAB price: $21

Summary: Possible one of the better value bets. 

The Scone mare won the Bathurst Panorama last prep before flashing late to run third to Art Cadeau in the 2021 The Kosciuszko. 

She resumed last start in town, again flashing late to finish third to Fox Fighter and if she gets a good run on Saturday, she could finish close again.

12. Commando Hunt

Trainer: Cameron Crockett 

Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy

Record: 17:3-7

TAB price: $23

Summary: Definitely one of the more consistent gallopers in Country NSW. 

The Scone galloper caught the eye when finishing second to Anethole in the Country Championships qualifier at Tamworth in March before a fast-finishing second to Another One in the Royal Randwick final in April.

Since returning from a spell, the five-year-old has finished third in the Dubbo Flying Handicap and Tamworth Spring Cup and he looks to be ready for another big run for connections. 

13. Talbragar

Trainer: Cody Morgan

Jockey: Hugh Bowman

Record: 3:3-0

TAB price: $34

Summary: The only unbeaten galloper in the field.

The five-year-old is only lightly-raced and boasts country form after wins at Narromine and Tamworth (twice), but there has been big wraps on him for some time and he will get every chance to show off his ability in this strong field. 

14. Le Melody 

Trainer: Cody Morgan

Jockey: Rachel King

Record: 5:3-1

TAB price: $26

Summary: The last of the Cody Morgan runners and the bottom weight with 53kg. 

Again, this mare only boasts country form after wins at Muswellbrook and Tamworth (twice) this year and this is a big step up. 

If the Scone gallopers continues improving, she will be thereabouts next year, but she might be a bit off the mark on Saturday. 

The Cameron Crockett-trained Commando Hunt will run in the 2022 The Kosciuszko. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Emergencies 

15. Irish Songs

Trainer: Kurt Goldman

Jockey: N/A

Record: 48:6-11

TAB price: $51

Summary: Veteran campaigner who has contested two Kosciuszko’s. 

He finished fourth in this race last year behind Art Cadeau and eighth back in 2020 behind It’s Me.

The seven-year-old won the National Sprint in Canberra earlier this year and he is capable at his best. 

16. Ten Bells

Trainer: Scott Collings

Jockey: N/A

Record: 9:5-0

TAB price: $41

Summary: An up-and-coming type that will surely be in the mix next year. Only lightly raced but she is a proven city winner and mud runner, and she will put in a good effort if she gains a start. 

17. Testator Silens

Trainer: Luke Clarke

Jockey: N/A

Record: 7:5-1

TAB price: $81

Summary: Arguably one of the unluckiest reserves, with this Braidwood galloper certainly capable in this field. The five-year-old wasn’t disgraced when finishing seventh in the Country Championships and he can give this a shake if he gains a start.

18. Know Where To Look

Trainer: Roy McCabe

Jockey: N/A

Record: 23:4-4

TAB price: $151

Summary: Solid country galloper but this is a huge step up in class if she is lucky enough to gain a start.