Star six-year-old Bitobliss is one horse who stands between Saint Flash and his second Choice Hotels Country Cup success.
Glenn Douglas doesn’t know how far Saint Flash can go but right now he’s thrilled with the five-year-old last-start Nyah Cup winner, who will contest Sunday’s Kilmore Equine Clinic Kilmore Pacing Cup.
Douglas said Saint Flash’s last-start win in the Nyah Cup had been a “special” triumph for local owner Noel Watson.
“He’s really starting to repay the faith shown in him by Noel,” Douglas said of the son of Grinfromeartoear.
“We’d set him for the Nyah Cup for about two months, so to win that was really special given it’s Noel’s hometown cup.”
A winner of six of his last nine starts, Saint Flash’s prize money has skyrocketed to over $161,000, and all of a sudden he’s a key player in Sunday’s Group 2, where the winner will pocket $47,250 and a guaranteed start in the $400,000 A G Hunter Cup next February.
“We haven’t set our sights on just how high he can go,” Douglas said.
“He’s really stepped up. If you’d said to me before his last start that he’d reel off a 55-and-a-bit half and get home I would have had a bit of a giggle.”
In winning the Nyah Cup, Saint Flash defeated star pacer Bitobliss, whom he will again lock horns with on Sunday.
“It’s a quality horse,” Douglas said of the Scott Stewart-trained six-year-old.
“It’ll win bigger races and we know it has won bigger races.”
Bitobliss will start from 10m on Sunday, while Saint Flash will be the third horse on the second row.
The Nyah Cup, which was run last Saturday, was Saint Flash’s first stand-start race. He wanted to move about before the tapes were released and he scrambled into stride before settling and whipping around the field to assume the front.
“His trials at the stand hadn’t been too bad,” Douglas said.
“He just got a bit stirred up on race day. Once he hits his straps he’ll be OK. But you can never tell with stand starts.”
Meanwhile, another of the Kilmore Cup key players will be Caribbean Blaster trained by Andy Gath.
Gath says he couldn’t be happier with how his five-year-old is tracking leading into Sunday’s 3150m feature.
“The horse is very well and he couldn’t be much fitter and healthier,” he said.
“This will be his last run before the New Zealand Cup over two miles.
”He’s been racing really well, but obviously the stand starts are always a bit of a question mark.”
Caribbean Blaster has had two lifetime stand-start races for two victories, the most recent being a 3.1m victory over Dominus Vobiscum in the in the Gammalite on September 28.
Gath said Jaccka Clive, Lets Slash N Burn from the pole, and New South Welsh pacer Mach Alert (a winner of nine of 16 career starts) were some of the key horses to beat, adding about the interstate visitor: “For Luke to travel down here with him he must have a high opinion of it.”
Caribbean Blaster was $1.55 fixed odds for the Kilmore Cup as of Wednesday night, with Bitobliss $4 second favourite and Jaccka Clive ($9) on the next line.
Mach Alert is rated $11, while Saint Flash and Lets Slash N Burn are both $16 chances.