Day At The Track

Luke banking on a "Yank" in Hunter Cup tilt

07:50 PM 31 Jan 2020 NZDT
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Luke McCarthy will partner up again with the “Yank”, Bling It On in the AG Hunter Cup,Harness racing
Luke McCarthy will partner up again with the “Yank”, Bling It On in the A G Hunter Cup

Accomplished Sydney reinsman Luke McCarthy took little time to decide which horse he wanted to partner in one of harness racing's premier events, the $500,000 Del-Re National A G Hunter Cup at Melton tomorrow night.

McCarthy had a choice of three, without counting the race emergency, but his loyalty stayed with his acknowledged favorite in big-time performer Bling It On, nicknamed "Yank" around the stables.

"Our trainer Craig Cross ended up with Alta Orlando (barrier one), King Of Swing (three, but emergency), Cash N Flow (five) and Bling It On (ten)," McCarthy said.

"We've had 'Yank' since he was a two-year-old, so he's a bit of a special boy around here. He just wasn't himself during the NZ Inter series in December, but he's on top of his game now," he said.

After the Inter, vets found the nine-year-old to have a low-grade virus and he was sent for a spell when he got home. On his return to the racetrack, a brilliant 1.50 trial sounded a clear message.

"We took him to race at Goulburn about two weeks ago. He led and coasted home in 1.54 (55sec last half) and broke the track record held by one of our old racehorses in For A Reason-ironically the two of them have both been doing stud duties for us," McCarthy said.

Prior to the NZ trip, Bling It On (American Ideal -Alldatglitterisgold (Caprock) had been given two starts back from his 2018 retirement.

He recorded a Menangle win 15 months after his previous race appearance and (who could forget this one?), a track record victory in the $250,000 Victoria Cup at Melton in October.

His record stands at 48 wins, 20 placings from 92 starts for $1.8M.

"We always try to be regulars at the Hunter Cup-along with any of the other big feature meetings in Victoria. It's good to be part of them," McCarthy said.

Apart from "Yank", McCarthy also heaped praise on the other Cross stable runners.

"Alta Orlando is flying, and his past two wins were huge. Cash N Flow got held-up two starts back, but his recent form has been super."

The stable's emergency runner King of Swing is also racing well, with a tough runner-up performance at Menangle in mid-January, before winning brilliantly in the Perc Hall G3 FFA in 1.48-7 last week. But the opposition is pretty smart with the Kiwi visitors Chase Auckland, Mach Shard and A G's White Socks and the other Aussies in Lochinvar Art, Code Bailey and Our Uncle Sam.

"It'll be a great race that's for sure," McCarthy said.

Cross, based at Cobbitty, also has Hows The Memory and Bettor Enforce in the $100,000 G1 Ladyship Cup, while Bright Energy will contest the $30,000 Pure Steel G3.

The team will be floated today to Shepparton, a seven-hour trip, to maintain the stable's normal routine.

Cross has 50 horses in work and is again enjoying a successful season with 86 wins and 56 placings for nearly $1.1M. Last season he landed 110 winners (30 metro) and 125 placings for $1.4M in stakes.


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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