Marquee’s ‘ Coota’ appearance has Pepper hot to trot
CUPS specialist Marquee has endured some hardships along the path to his seven country cup appearances but it will all be worth it if he can win today’s Cootamundra Cup (1600m).
The son of Casino Prince has appeared in those seven cups races around the state in his past 13 starts, winning the Narooma Cup in January last year.
Marquee was runner-up in the Moruya Cup immediately after his Narooma success as well as much more recent placings in the Forbes and Dubbo cups.
Indeed, Marquee’s September 16 third in the Dubbo feature confirmed his best form is close at hand, something which seemed unlikely while the horse was off the scene for an extended period last year.
“His last run put the writing on the wall,’’ trainer Luke Pepper said.
“Being an older gelding now, he’s had a few injuries late in his career and has taken a bit to get fit this time in. He’s just hitting his straps. His work suggests he is at his best and, drawn a soft gate and with the kid’s claim, he gets in great at the weights.’’
The ‘kid’ whom Pepper speaks of is apprentice Robbie Dolan who takes 2kg off the horse’s back bringing him into the event with 55.5kg, or just 1.5kg over the limit.
“Robbie is coming all the way down from Sydney to ride him so he obviously likes the horse,’’ Pepper said. “I’m really looking forward to the race.
“The mile is ideal, the track was a bit firm at Dubbo. Hopefully, the track at Cootamundra has got a little bit of give in it and he’ll be very hard to beat.’’
To put Marquee’s Cootamundra Cup weight into some perspective, he will carry only a fraction more than some horses whose benchmark ratings are 16 points lower.