In the firing line

Local trainer Matthew Dunn with Our Triple Treat, one of the big hopes in tomorrow’s Murwillumbah Cup, which has attracted a handy field of middle-distance gallopers.
Local trainer Matthew Dunn with Our Triple Treat, one of the big hopes in tomorrow’s Murwillumbah Cup, which has attracted a handy field of middle-distance gallopers. John Gass

THE trainer of top weight Rhetoric is not saying "he'll be hard to beat" just for the sake of argument.

When Maryann Brosnan's charge steps out in tomorrow's $28,250 Casella Wines Murwillumbah Cup (2000m), he will be expressing his eloquence the best way he knows how - trying to win races.

Lumped with 58kg, Rhetoric comes into the cup race having won five events and $50,800 in prize money over 17 career starts.

His Gold Coast-based trainer says he will be right in the firing line again tomorrow.

Her only qualm centres on the four-year-old gelding's big frame and his potential to handle the tight Murwillumbah track.

It will be Rhetoric's first start on the course.

"He's a big lump of a horse, a very big, heavy horse," she said.

"He stands at 16.2 hands, so I'm thinking class, and good horsemanship from (jockey) Daniel Griffin will have to get him there."

Impressed by his winning effort three starts ago, Brosnan points to that run in a Benchmark 80 handicap at the Sunshine Coast as an indication of his current fine form.

"He showed a good turn of foot and won going away against some good horses.

"There was maybe more class in that race than Sunday's cup, and his weight allocation tells you that.

"He beat Cross Cannons in that race, who won at his next start in town and then nearly won (the $51,000 Provincial Cup) at Ipswich."

Brosnan is not concerned about the likelihood of racing with the sting out of the ground despite Rhetoric's poor showing at Doomben last start on a bog track.

"He was never comfortable on what was a very wet track," she said.

"When he won in heavy going before it was in restricted grade and his natural ability got him through, but in the city at that level you can't get away with it."

Tomorrow's racing surface is expected to fall into the dead to slow range.

"The track will be perfect for him," Brosnan said.

Others appreciative of the conditions will be three up-and-comers who are trained on-course: three-year-old filly Leica Bita Lippy, from the Carolyn Halliday stable; the in-form Sir Esmond (Thea Taylor); and Matthew Dunn's Our Triple Treat.

Recent Cup Preview winner Trading Secrets also appreciates it soft under hoof, while Keltic Honour can be expected to hold his own after flying home in similar conditions to finish 3.75 lengths from the winner in the 2150m Provincial Cup at Ipswich last weekend.

Forecasts of sunny skies and temperatures in the high teens for tomorrow have delighted Tweed River Jockey Club officials. Like other racecourses in northern New South Wales, Murwillumbah has suffered its fair share of meetings abandoned to the vagaries of the weather over the past 12 months.

Tomorrow's meeting will be only the club's third for the year.

Topics:  casella wines murwillumbah cup horses races tweed

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