Scone trainer Brett Cavanough’s Monstar lines up for a piece of The Kosciuszko pie

MUDLARK: The Monstar storms to victory in the June Stakes last year at Randwick. Picture: bradleyphotos.com.au
MUDLARK: The Monstar storms to victory in the June Stakes last year at Randwick. Picture: bradleyphotos.com.au

SCONE trainer Brett Cavanough’s prayers were answered this week as rain and overcast conditions continued at Randwick ahead of Saturday’s inaugural The Kosciuszko.

“I haven’t been to church but I’m starting to believe in God,” Cavanough said on Friday as Randwick was rated a Heavy 9.

“The only reason it’s not a 15 is that it doesn’t go that far,” he added about the track status.

Not that he believes his charge, The Monstar, needs the conditions to challenge in the $1.3 million 1200-metre event for country-trained horses.

“My horse gets through the wet and the dry the same,” he said.

“It’s probably more just a disadvantage for the other guys, but we’ve all got to get through it and we’ve got 60 kilos.

“I’m just sitting back waiting for it to all unfold, and win, lose or draw, we’ve got to move onto the next day.”

The Monstar was one of the first to gain a spot in The Kosciuszko, a new race which gives punters a chance to own a slot through winning a $5-ticket sweepstake.

“It’s fantastic,” Cavanough said of the concept.

“The amount of horses that have come into my stable just because of country prizemoney and status has been incredible. I’m pretty stoked with it.”

Cavanough’s eight-year-old gelding, a group 2 winner this year and regular black-type performer, carries topweight and was a $5 TAB Fixed Odds hope on Friday despite drawing gate nine.

The Monstar will carry two kilograms more than the next heaviest handicapped but Cavanough had no complaints.

“The reality is it’s an open handicap sprint in the bush and I think I’m well weighted,” he said. 

Fellow Scone trainer Rod Northam has the other Hunter hope in the race, After All That, which was a $7 chance from gate seven carrying 57.5kg.

After All That won the the Anniversary Highway Handicap (1300m) on the same day last year.

Champion Cessnock jockey Robert Thompson rode him that day and will be aboard again on Saturday.

Northam said he had been eyeing the race since May when he first heard rumours of a new country event for Everest day.

The seven-year-old Time Thief gelding flashed home for fourth to Ball Of Muscle in the group 2 The Shorts last month to shore up his place in the race.

Early favourite Care To Think was withdrawn on Wednesday because of an elevated temperature and the Jenny Graham-trained Awesome Pluck took his place.

Graham’s Victorem was the $3.90 favourite on Friday.