Last year trainer Cameron Crockett was involved in the infamous Mudgee Cup race fall, which resulted in five horses and five jockeys requiring medical attention.
Crockett’s Are You Sure was one of just seven horses to finish the race, which was described shortly after as “like a war zone”.
On Friday, Crockett and Are You Sure again line up in the feature race, worth $50,000 due to the meeting being a designated Racing NSW Showcase meeting.
“I thought he was well placed last year, it was probably the most confident I’ve been going into a cup at Mudgee because they’re always pretty strong,” Crockett said.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be, they came down, we lost one horse but we didn’t lose any riders which was lucky.
“He was lame for a couple of days, we got him working again and we took him to Canterbury because he was going pretty well but he pulled sore in the hind quarter again, so we turned him out.
“When we brought him back we had a few concerns because he had a couple of ordinary runs but then he found form, he’d probably had the best prep he’s had without winning a race.
“We put him back in the paddock and came back with a third at Muswellbrook, he was below average in his last run at Warren which I put down to fitness he peaked on his run a bit – which he won’t be doing on Friday.”
The trainer said he had been pleased with Are You Sure’s preparation, but added he always seems to struggle on his home track.
“He’s going well enough, he’s a lot fitter than last time and we made sure we left no stone unturned for this one,” he said.
“It’s a very hard field and something always seems to go against him at Mudgee, I don’t know why but he just never has much luck there.
“So we’ll see what happens.”
While Crockett headlines the home town hopes, alongside Gayna Williams and Strong Boy, four Dubbo trainers are also in the running in the $27,750-to-the-winner event.
Clint Lundholm’s Any Blinkin’ Day will jump from barrier three with Dubbo’s Kody Nestor in the saddle, while Justin Stanley’s consistent Something Borrowed, to be ridden by Mathew Cahill, will be nextdoor in barrier two.
Connie Greig’s in-form Our Sarastro, with three wins and two seconds from the past five starts, jumps from gate eight and is to be ridden by Jezz Penza while Peter Nestor’s Dan De Lago is the bottom weight for the event.
Last year’s shock winner Fox Solid, trained at Wellington by Garry McCarney, again lines up this year and will again be among the outsiders having not tasted success in 12 starts since last year’s Cup.
Racing at Mudgee begins at 1.20pm on Friday with the $50,000 Cup at 5.05pm.