Day At The Track

Motu Crusader edges closer to Hunter Cup start

04:00 AM 20 Jan 2014 NZDT
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Motu Crusader winning the Tasmania Cup in December.jpg
Motu Crusader winning the Tasmania Cup in December
The $400,000 Group 1 A. G Hunter Cup is on the agenda for recent Tasmania Cup winner Motu Crusader that scored another effortless win in Launceston last Friday night.

At this latest assignment Motu Crusader gave his rivals a 40-metre start but meted out a pacing lesson to his rivals as he powered home to score by over three metres from recent Hobart Pacing Cup winner Spot Nine in the McKillop Insurances Discretionary Handicap over 2200 metres.

Motu Crusader's trainer Zeke Slater was delighted with the win and confirmed the A. G Hunter Cup as the likely next big-race target for the seven-year-old.

"He meets most of the qualifications to run in the Hunter Cup so that's the race we're looking at," Slater said.

"He ran a terrific time off his 40-metre handicap and he ran home his last half (800 metres) in 55.4 so you don't get much better than that on this track," he said.

Motu Crusader stepped cleanly off his back mark and top reinsman Ricky Duggan had him pacing sweetly and in touch with the main body of the field after traveling 600 metres.

It was obvious a long way from home that the Merv and Meg Butterworth-owned gelding had the field covered and when Duggan called on him to extend at the top of the home straight he powered home to win without being fully extended.

The Hunter Cup will be run in Victoria at Tabcorp Park Melton on February 1.

By Peter Staples

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