CHRIS Frisby may have been embarrassed when he nominated Our Uncle Sam for the 2018 Inter Dominion series, but it was with pride that he put his name on the list for Hunter Cup hopefuls.
It shows just how much the son of Sportswriter has improved over the last two months for the Perthville trainer.
Not only did Our Uncle Sam qualify for the Inter Dominion heats, he went on to run second in the $500,000, Group 1 grand final.
Then on Boxing Day he produced another tough effort from the death seat to place third in the Group 2 Shirley Turnbull Memorial at Bathurst.
Those sort of efforts have Frisby confident that Our Uncle Sam can not only earn a spot in the field for the February 2 A.G. Hunter Cup (2,760m), but give winning the $500,000 Group 1 feature a good crack too.
“When I first nominated him [for Inter Dominion] I was embarrassed to do it, he had to come back from that spell and had to make the next jump. I had in the back of my mind that he wasn’t good enough and he had to make that next jump. He did that,” Frisby said.
“I’ve probably learned to train him better now too. I think he’s a horse that’s hard to train or drive.”
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The Shirley Turnbull Memorial (2,790m) is a race Frisby admitted he probably would have passed on had it not been for the emotional pull of competing.
Still, he was delighted with Our Uncle Sam’s effort and said he has recovered well ahead of his next assignment.
“It was a real big run, I thought he went super,” the trainer said.
“He sat in the death seat and they broke the track record for the distance [1:56.0].
“I’ve have worked out that he likes the distance, I’m not saying that he doesn’t like the mile either, but his runs over distances have been real quick.
“He’s pulled up real good actually, a lot better than I thought he would to tell you the truth.”
Frisby headed to Victoria on Thursday with a plan in mind for Our Uncle Sam to qualify for the Hunter Cup, a race which The Lagoon’s Steve Turnbull has also nominated runners for – Conviction and Joes Star Of Mia.
“I will go in the Shep Cup with him on Saturday night then probably go to the Ballarat Cup the week after. That’s my theory,” he said.
“If he can race in those two races and then have a fortnight in between in the next one, that’s the plan and of course depending on if he’s going good enough and gets a run in it. I can’t see why he wouldn’t, he seems to be going pretty good at the moment.”
The Shepparton Gold Cup (2,690m) holds Group 2 status and offers a $60,000 purse, while the Ballarat Cup is a Group 1, $100,000 contest.
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The fields for both will be quality, but if Our Uncle Sam can impress he will follow in the footsteps of Frisby’s former stable star Dinki Di in earning a Hunter Cup start. He placed sixth to About To Rock in the 2006 edition.
“Dinki Di ran in it. He ran fifth in it and only got beaten by about four or five lengths. I think this bloke has probably got more high speed than Dinki Di for sure, he’d be hard to beat for toughness … but if he gets in they’ll know he’s there,” Frisby said.
The barrier draw for the Hunter Cup will be conducted on January 29 at the MCG.