Derby winner will chase Cup glory next week

CAULFIELD trainer Peter Moody has had a change of mind and will run Tasmanian Derby winner Currigee in next week’s $120,000 Total Care Devonport Cup. Moody made the decision to start Currigee on Wednesday after the gelding’s luckless fourth in the Woodford Gold Cup at Warrnambool.
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Currigee was a certainty but was beaten when blocked for a run in the straight last Sunday and it encouraged Moody to bring the four-year-old back to Tasmania.

“He’s a big horse who needs a bit of free racing room and he didn’t get that at Warrnambool,” Moody’s racing manager Geoff O’Connor said.

Moody had engaged Ben Melham to ride Currigee at Warrnambool to test the horse after Meldham won the 2007 Devonport Cup on Royal Lakes.

Melham won’t get the chance to ride Currigee at Spreyton as he fell foul of the stewards and was suspended at Echuca the following day.

O’Connor said the stable was still searching for a Victorian jockey to ride Currigee.

“It’s proving a bit difficult to find someone because there is a race meeting at Sandown on the same day,” he said.

The ride was offered to Craig Newitt, who has ridden regularly for the Moody stable, including Zacielo in the Hobart and Launceston cups, but he has prior engagements at Sandown.

The appearance of Newitt at Spreyton would have been a huge boost for the Devonport Racing Club.

Newitt won the Devonport Cup three years in a row in 2002-04, but has not ridden in Tasmania since taking the world before him on star sprinter Miss Andretti.

Veteran jockey Stephen Maskiell has won the battle for the ride on topweight Conquering, who will attempt to become the first horse to carry 58.5kg to victory.

Conquering is the form horse of the Devonport Cup after winning his past two starts at Mowbray, including the $50,000 Tasmanian Stakes on Boxing Day.

Premier jockey Brendon McCoull had also wanted to ride Conquering, but trainer Charlie Goggin said he had settled on Maskiell because of his previous good record on the gelding.

“Stephen has won five races on the horse, which counts for a bit,” he said.

Goggin will also run Tasmanian Oaks winner Maha Chakri, with the ride likely to be offered to apprentice Justin Hamer.

McCoull is in line to ride locally trained Lunardi for David Cousins.

Bay Ritz, winner of the 2006 Devonport Cup, won’t run this year after connections decided to retire him following his disappointing run at Elwick last Sunday.

The final field of 14 and four emergencies for the Cup will be declared on Friday at 9am and the barrier draw will be conducted under the supervision of steward Dominic Tyson at a calcutta function the following afternoon at 3pm.

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