Lundholm Gives His Pair Excellent Prospects In Scone TAB Highway

Dubbo’s Clint Lundholm, enjoying an excellent season, has earned respect with form outsider Cherry Blue ($61 on TAB) and the proven Smooth Esprit ($9.50) into Saturday’s Scone TAB Highway.

In a deep support race to the annual stand-alone meeting featuring the Group 3-Dark Jewel Classic and three Listed races, Cherry Blue is largely ignored attempting a winning treble while Smooth Esprit invariably contends into the $120,000 Class 3, 1600m.

Cherry Blue (Ronald Simpson) lands the prize at Gunnedah. Image by Bradley Photographers

Cherry Blue, drawn wide off wins in much weaker grade at Gunnedah and Warren, carries 55.5kg for Jason Collett and Country Championships Finalist Smooth Esprit, an earlier Highway winner, also 55.5kg for Regan Bayliss.

The young trainer with 50 plus winners so far this season is running a close second to Kris Lees in the Country training premiership.

That’s some accomplishment given Clint has around a third of the numbers in work and certainly no Group or listed performers.

“We’ve 40 odd in work, ticking over nicely, hopefully more to come but you’ve got to have supportive owners and hard working staff and I’ve got all of that that,” offered Clint, who rides trackwork.

“Heavy tracks have been against Smooth Esprit but has proven form in tougher grade, the Championships final off the Coonamble qualifier and a Highway winner.

“But he wants a firmer track if there’s an upgrade. Normally we wouldn’t have run on the heavy in the final, only for making it into a big race and the level of prizemoney.

“Out to the ’mile’ suits, closed strongly at 1400m, fitter and we did strike a real smart one.”

They certainly did in Albury track record holder Bianco Vilano who carried an unprecedented 63.5kg in the series winning at Rosehill Gardens for Ron Stubbs and James McDonald and is a leading The Kosciuszko contender.

“His pattern is to get back so we’ll ride him quiet again and hopefully find some short cuts; the big track and straight helps there.

“Cherry Blue keeps raising the bar, up in grade obviously but that’s been the case both wins, so who knows how far he can take it.  Always worth a crack in winning form for this level of prizemoney.

“And knowing he can run a ‘mile’ if he’s up to the grade. No favours the wide draw but we’ll likely come in a few with scratchings.”

Scott Singleton on his home track has three runners, the $3.50 TAB favourite in Russley Crown who was scratched from a wide draw two weeks ago and is similarly drawn again, What a Peach ($15) and Keen Contributer ($31).

“Throw enough darts and you’ll hit the target eventually,” Scott quipped with a super recent Highway record with numerous runners.

– Racing NSW

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