apprentice Zoe-Lee Cruickshank to ride Pat’s Nipper

A 4kg claiming apprentice might be the key to saving Pat’s Nipper’s career.

Trainer Cody Morgan runs his six-year-old in an Open Handicap (1300m) at Armidale on Sunday as he tries to get him winning again by giving Zoe-Lee Cruickshank the ride from barrier five.

“He has been very uninterested in racing during the past couple of months and we’re trying to get him right by changing things up with him,” Morgan said.

“The young girl (Cruickshank) that trialled him up on Tuesday got him running well for her and he trialled as well as he’d ever trialled.

“I thought that it would be best not to change anything and give her the ride on Sunday.”

Pat’s Nipper won that recent trial under Cruickshank by more than 5½ lengths after running 12th of 13 at Moree in September before having a seven-week freshen up.

Pat’s Nipper won at Grafton in an Open Handicap in March but has gone unplaced in five runs since but he has contested the Country Championships before so his class can get him home.

“It just about does,” Morgan said.

“Hopefully he can run well after going average for a little bit. If he can recapture his best form, where he’s beating horses like Burning Crown, he’d still be winning races in Brisbane on a Saturday.

“If he turns up and wants to be there, I don’t think Beacon can give him 7.5kg.”

Moyassar is the horse Morgan knows has many wins in front of him as he goes around in a Maiden Plate after running second last start at Scone.

It was his first start for Morgan after coming to him from the Hayes/Dabernig yard where he showed form with them.

He’s staying at 1100m on Sunday and Aaron Bullock stay on from a better gate (3) after he had to go back from barrier 13 first-up.

He should be able to be within striking distance as they round the home bend.

“He looks to be out best chance for the day,” Morgan said.

“He’s drawn well and raced great first-up. The only little query is that he’s probably looking for a tough further than 1100m but he’s still out best chance for the weekend.

“He can be more forward now and he looks hard to beat. It’s a weaker race than he contested first-up.”

Mischief Managed is Morgan’s other hope on Sunday in the sixth race over 1100m.

She won in gritty fashion at Scone over 900m but Morgan wasn’t fully satisfied with her which is why she hasn’t ran in six weeks.

She’s only in her second preparation and is a three-year-old filly by Spill The Beans who is still developing.

Ben Looker should be able to give her a good run in transit from barrier five in the 11-horse field.

“When she won her maiden she wasn’t right in the coat and I put her in the paddock for 10 days and she looks a lot better,” Morgan said.

“I think she can win. The 59kg is my only query.”


Coffs Harbour trainer Brad Munro says Italian Tune’s dominant win last start at Armidale was no fluke and he can do it again at the same track.

The Pierro four-year-old ran fifth, seventh and ninth over shorter trips before taking out a 1900m race last start by more than 3 ½ lengths.

“His form wasn’t great, coming back from a spell, but he just needed a couple of runs to get his fitness levels up,” Munro said.

“He got to his right trip and didn’t have a big weight. He’s not an overly strong horse but he’s got a good set of lungs on him.

“He doesn’t have a big dash on him but he just keeps going through his gears at that staying pace.”

Italian Tune stays at 1900m today in a Class 1 & Maiden Plate but does have to carry an extra 2.5kg on Sunday. But he loves Armidale.

“I took him up to Armidale (last start) because he’s ran so well up there. He seems to like the travel up there when not many horses do and he likes the track so he should go well again,” Munro said.

“I’ve taken horses up there that just don’t handle that track but go better at Coffs Harbour and Grafton. It’s a slight uphill climb in the home straight and he handles the tight turns.

“He pulled up very well from his last run. I don’t over-gallop him much. He gallops over 1000m at home in short, sharp gallops.”

It’s not an overly strong race for Italian Tune and if he carries the extra weight well he’ll be very hard to beat and if he gets the job done again he’ll be given an even bigger target.

“He’s looking pretty good so I’d be disappointed if he doesn’t run a good race. He’s a genuine stayer and he’s starting to figure out what it’s all about and the penny has started to drop,” Munro said.

“If he wins in dominant fashion like he did last start it would be silly not to take him to a staying race at Newcastle or up on the Gold Coast where he’d carry less weight.”

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