Bulala the fresh prince for Morgan
COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS @ WAGGA WAGGA
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.