A long-term plan by Hawkesbury trainer Terry Croft to win the Bankstown Sports Club Forbes Cup(1600m) will come to conclusion when No Escape tackles an outstanding field in the $30,000 feature race on Monday.
Winner of a restricted class race at the 2017 Cup meeting, No Escape has worked through the grades and recently won twice at Mudgee followed by a big run at $101 at Randwick last Saturday when third to Kaonic and Travencore.
No Escape, to be ridden by promising Chinese apprentice Qin Yong, is yet to be tested over 1600 metres however Terry Croft is hopeful the step up in distance will not be a problem.
While there is a number of leading contenders from all over the state, the local hopes in the feature rest with Mister Marmalade, owned by Eugowra couple Sally and Lex Crosby.
Trained for the Crosbys by Danny Williams at Goulburn and to be ridden by champion jockey Greg Ryan, the lightly raced Mister Marmalade ran second to Letter To Juliette in the Orange Cup and is fit for Forbes after two lead-up runs in Sydney.
Almost a Forbes “local” is Cowra trainer Andrew Molloy, who has Welcome Art reaching peak fitness for the Cup assignment, with Eleanor Webster-Hawes the jockey.
Several generations of the Molloy family from Forbes have been prominent in racing and very early in his career Andrew Molloy trained Flabbergasted to win a Forbes Cup.
Welcome Art finished fast when a close second to Malverna at Dubbo and last week ran a creditable race in the Cattlemans Handicap at Warren.
Zarlu, 2016 winner and a strong finishing second last year, is being brought back by trainer Peter Morgan for another crack at the Cup and would be well suited by a rain affected track.
Gentleman Max from the Trevor Sutherland stable at Wagga Wagga is capable of making it back to back Forbes Cup wins while Cowra Cup winner Illyrian trained at Canberra by John Rolfe is another with a good chance.
Connie Greig’s Our Sarastro will be the lone hope in the feature from Dubbo, and heads to Forbes having run a strong second in the strong Cattleman’s Handicap field at Warren.
Apprentice Ashleigh Stanley has the ride from barrier nine on Our Sarastro and her claim will ensure the renowned front-runner is able to maintain a strong pace throughout the journey.
Hundreds of visitors began arriving in Forbes last week, including those from major sponsor Bankstown Sports Club and last night saw one of the biggest calcuttas in the state held at the local Services Memorial Club.
First race on Monday is at 12.40 pm with horses in the main event leaving the barriers at 4.15pm.