A virus through the stables has ended Clint Lundholm’s hopes of taking out trainer of the year at Dubbo Turf Club.
Lundholm will not have a runner at his home track for the first time in roughly four years when Friday’s Give Me 5 For Kids charity meeting is contested.
Despite that, the race to be season’s best will still be hotly contested, with the the likes of Garry Lunn, Connie Greig and Cameron Crockett firmly in the running.
The latter has four chances in on Friday, and for one of those the meeting is likely to be the last.
Alexandra Demure will contest the 105.9 Hit FM Maiden Plate (1010m), still searching for that elusive first winner.
The mare arrived at Crockett’s stable roughly a year ago and back-to-back seconds at Dubbo had many punters keeping an eye on her, thinking it was a matter of if, not when, she would break through.
But the win hasn’t come and Friday will be her 14th career start.
“She’s really struggling,” Crockett said.
“She had two really good runs at Dubbo but has never really been the same since. She’ll go down as a mystery.”
While Crockett has enjoyed plenty of success in recent years to make himself one of the leading trainers, he said figuring out what went on in the head of horses like Alexendra Demure was far too advanced for him.
In the lead-up to Friday he has tried some different things in the hope of getting a strong run from the now four-year-old and dropped her back in distance despite her race pattern showing a longer trip might suit her.
“You’ve got to have the constitution, the temperament, the soundness and the will to win. It doesn’t matter how fast you can go,” he said.
While he doesn’t have the highest of hopes of Alexndra Demure, to be ridden by Jake Pracey-Holmes, the Mudgee trainer is confident about his other three hopes at the eight-race meeting.
Crockett nominated Crim for a number of events in the hope of finding a race without a huge amount of pace and he settled on Friday’s Signvision Benchmark 65 Handicap (1610m).
The mare has scored back-to-back wins heading to Dubbo.
“She’s up in class but she’s dropping 2kg,” Crockett said.
“Even though she’s stepping up I think there’s improvement in her.
“She’s improved every run and if she’s ever going to run a mile it’s right now. I think she’ll run very well.”
Good Verdict is first-up from a spell in the Give Me 5 For Kids Class 1 Handicap (1310m) while Another McCloud will be making his first start for Crockett in the first event, the Autobarn and Opposite Lock Dubbo Maiden Plate (1010m).
Racing starts at 12.30pm.