If Monday’s Ecoscapes Solutions Orange Cup Prelude (1600m) at Towac Park lives up to its name, you could do much worse than to back Dubbo trainer Garry Lunn’s charge Kingtantes on April 7.
With Chris Williams on board, the big gelding produced a near-perfect run in Monday afternoon’s $20,000 lead-up race, hitting the gas down Towac’s straight to win by a length-and-a-half from Gayna Williams’ Shadow Affair.
Chris Williams sat the six-year-old mid-pack after a strong jump from barrier six, with Grass Cutter and Anytime Baby setting a frenetic early pace.
The former pushed out to a four-length lead at the 600m mark but came back to the pack on the home turn, which is when Kingtantes and Shadow Affair – which produced an impressive run as well – moved up.
Both kicked at the top of the straight and cruised to first and second, respectively, with Hirokin in third.
“He ran third at Wellington earlier this month with 63.5kg on his back and his run was enormous. I was looking at the Orange Cup, but he had to be competitive in this race to think about running him,” Lunn explained.
“Then he got in with 53kg, with all the weight off and the tops carrying 63, 64kg I was very confident.
“I knew coming into the corner with that light weight he was going to be hard to beat, you know, but with 57 or 58kg on his back he probably would’ve been run down.”
Lunn said that confidence won’t dissipate leading into the main race, the Craig Jaques Surveyors Orange Gold Cup (1600m).
“The Cup’s only two or three weeks away, so he probably won’t have another run before then and he’ll probably pick up 53 or 54kg in that one too. If he gets a good run in transit then, he’ll be hard to beat because he can really sprint,” Lunn said.
Of Orange’s chances at Monday’s seven-race meet, at time of print, Michael Plummer’s Ephriam was the best-performed.
The three-year-old chestnut gelding ran fifth in the first, beating out one of Plummer’s other runners in Sovereign Default in sixth.
Plummer’s third runner in that race, Birdie Brown, ran eighth.
Lunn’s win was the only success for Dubbo trainers at Orange on Monday, with the likes of Greig, Dar Lunn and Peter Nestor all missing out.
Leading Sydney trainer Bjorn Baker enjoyed sending his horses out west, with his stables providing the winners of the first two races.
Orientex ($5.50) won the first race of the day at Towac Park before Written In Vain ($3.90 favourite) made it a Baker double.
The win for both Orientex and Written In Vain were the first of their respective careers.
No jockey stood out, with a different hoop winning each of the seven races on the card at Orange.