Day At The Track

Russell Cook seeking get well victory

08:00 AM 11 Feb 2009 NZDT
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Russell Cook is looking forward to seeing Make Waves in action in Saturday night's $25,000 Terang & District Co-Op Pacing Cup. The ever-improving five-year-old ran at Moonee Valley on BIG6 Hunter Cup night last weekend, but the former South Melbourne ruckman wasn't there to see it.

Not only that, he didn't get to watch it or even listen to the race on the radio. Cook was in hospital, recovering from an operation that left him laid up for more than a week.

But when he eventually found out that his star five-year-old had resumed from a seven-week let up with a fine second to Kiwi-trained Inter Dominion hopeful Zenad he immediately pressed ahead with plans to start at Terang.

"He only had the three weeks off (work), but he came back and trialled well and now he's come back and raced well, which is pleasing," Cook said from his Ross Creek home.

"The horse that beat him the other night, he ran fifth in the New Zealand Cup, and it's hard to mix it in that sort of company, so we were happy (with the run)."

A favourable alley under the preferential barrier draw conditions of the Terang Cup has Make Waves poised to start one of the favourites in the 2680-metre event.

He has been allocated barrier four, but that will become three if emergency Albert Jaccka (three) doesn't get a run.

His biggest threats are drawn much more awkwardly. Comeback pacer Pay Me Christian is outside the front row (seven), while Keayang Hanover (eight), Broadway Play (10), Sequoiahs Spirit (11) and Bold Cruiser (12) are all off the back.

"He's a handy horse from back in the field, but he can go away all right," Cook said. "He's not brilliant away, but he's handy and hopefully he can find a nice spot."

Cook's biggest concern is Make Waves' inexperience at the 2680m of the Terang Cup. The only time he has missed a place in 17 starts since January 30 last year was when he ran eighth behind Keayang Hanover in his Vicbred Super Series semi final last May.

That's his only appearance in a race longer than 2200 metres in a 39-start career that has produced 16 wins, 17 minor placings and just $1342 short of $100,000 in stakes.

"It's only his second run over this sort of distance, so you can't be too sure, but probably just learning to race at this distance is the thing with him," Cook said.

Brad Bishop

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