Bu­lala the fresh prince for Morgan

COUN­TRY CHAM­PI­ONSHIPS @ WAGGA WAGGA

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - RACEDAY PREVIEW - MATT JONES

FOUR train­ers are try­ing to win to­day’s $150,000 Coun­try Cham­pi­onships Qual­i­fier with a num­ber of run­ners, but Peter Morgan thinks he needs just one.

Bu­lala is Morgan’s only horse in the big race and he’s had an in­ter­est­ing, but well-planned, preparation.

Since fin­ish­ing fifth in a High­way Hand­i­cap at his third run from a spell last July, he’s had just three well-spaced runs.

One was a fourth in a High­way be­hind Another Sin, then it was 18 weeks into a win at Al­bury be­fore a freshen up and a vic­tory here on Fe­bru­ary 9.

“We just think he goes bet­ter fresh,” Morgan said.

“It wouldn’t be a bad achieve­ment to win it with just one, would it?’’

The only query on paper, apart from a wide bar­rier (15), is the fact Bu­lala hasn’t run over 1400m in his 10-start ca­reer.

But Morgan has so much con­fi­dence in his abil­ity to run out a strong 1400m that he hasn’t both­ered to test him over the trip to see how he goes.

“I wish he had drawn a bit closer but he’s go­ing ter­rific,’’ he said. “We’ve been plan­ning this for eight months.

“I don’t think the 1400m is a prob­lem be­cause he’s had plenty of work and he set­tles well.”

The ca­pac­ity fields for the Coun­try Cham­pi­onships Qual­i­fiers in­vari­ably have plenty of speed in them and, if jockey Mathew Cahill can slot Bu­lala in some­where with cover, he’ll be hit­ting the line hard.

“He won’t be that close to them,’’ Morgan said. “The best part about it (wide gate) is we’ve got a good jockey so we’ll let him work that out.

“His turn of foot is pretty good and he’s pretty quick. There will be a lot of speed in the race. There’s some fast horses in it and a few that go well.”

One of the four train­ers that has more than one run­ner in the race is Chris Heywood, who sad­dles up Class Clown and Fer­managh Lad.

And if there is a scratch­ing, he has first emer­gency De­liv­ered.

Heywood said, while it’s an open race, he thinks Morgan’s run­ner is the favourite.

“I know it’s (Bu­lala) drawn a bad gate but it’s a nice horse,’’ Heywood said.

Heywood warned, though, Class Clown had the cre­den­tials, and right bar­rier (five), to give any horse in the field a real worry. The six-year-old is com­ing off a four-length sixth to Bu­lala last start over 1200m but all of his wins have come at 1400m or more and Heywood said he’s fly­ing un­der the radar.

“Class Clown is the only one in there that’s won five races and his run was su­per the other day so I’m re­ally happy with him,” he said.

“It (Bu­lala) beat us over 1200m and didn’t beat us by a long way and we couldn’t get a crack at them at the end and 1200m is not his go.

“Last preparation he came back from an in­jury and was in the pad­dock for 12 months. He was a bit dour when he came back but this time in he’s come back a lot fresher.”

Fer­managh Lad hasn’t won this preparation but fin­ished one po­si­tion in front of Class Clown last start and gets city jockey Adam Hyeron­imus to guide him.

Run­ning out a strong 1400m is the ques­tion mark.

“I think I’ve got him back to his best and Hippo’s come down to ride for me,” Heywood said.

“He’s a horse that needs to be up on the speed. The race could set it up for some­thing out the back or they could just keep on go­ing up front.

“I’m con­fi­dent be­cause we’re rac­ing against our lo­cal horses and we know what they can all do . . .’’

Trainer Peter Morgan ex­pects Bu­lala to have no prob­lem with the 1400m to­day.

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