by Ross Stanley
Sunshine Coast jockey Jason Hoopert is very keen to boot home a winner during this Saturday’s $10,000 XXXX Fitzroy Hotel Nanango Cup card.
After a horrific fall at Kilcoy eleven years ago, he was told he would never race-ride again.
He was in a coma when he took out the first South-East Country Racing Association Jockeys premiership.
But he really bounced back after a four year absence and has topped that chart for the past two seasons.
Hoopert has won 99 races since that ultra-serious accident.
Reaching the century mark will be monumentally satisfying.
During his strenuous and extensive rehabilitation phase, Jason increased his prowess with the camera.
He had the honour and thrill of being the official photographer at the National Jockeys Trust’s celebratory function at Doomben last weekend, and is enthusiastically looking forward to riding and clicking the camera at Birdsville on August 31-September 1.
Three of jockeys in action at Lee Park this weekend have collected Nanango Cups.
Hoopert did so on Mimics (2013) and Tampere (2016), Bradley Appo likewise on Gaelstorm (2015) and Steamy and his nephew Beau Appo saluted on Thunder Lane.
Form students will have a tough task sorting out the eight Nanango Cup contenders.
Although the top weight Elegies has encouraging credentials, the Casino Prince gelding has not raced since April 30 and is yet to win over trips shorter than 1900 metres.
Pat Duff’s entry Excellent Spirit does have the services of Hannah English and a 9:3-1-2 form line over the distance. However, the bay’s four efforts after a ten month absence have been disappointing.
King Ludwig is a hardy campaigner that could bob up. The old boy by Excites has yet to race at Nanango, but jockey Cecily Eaton knows him well.
I’m No Ruby has a lot going for him, too.
He is unbeaten over the metric mile at Lee Park and all up, his seven appearances at the venue have yielded three wins and two placings. Joshua King has a good understanding with the Oakey galloper.
At first glance, the last three runs have been below his par, but the barrier draw each time was unfortunate.
Scarp Copper’s recent victories have been on rain affected ground, but the Myboycharlie mare’s best results have been over shorter journeys. So back her if there is a saturating deluge.
Cooee March hails from Griffith. Trainer Russell Hogan has had some luck during his northern adventure with Star Hero running second at Wondai prior to scoring at Rockhampton.
Cooee March – the baby of the field – ran a very solid fourth in Class 3 company at Dalby on Tuesday. But the downside is the fact that Dane Shadow gelding has won just twice and this is an open handicap.
The ten-year-old Singaraja has had only 48 starts and has not been disgraced on grass tracks this time in.
He did prevail over 1750 metres at Esk in December 2016 before a five month break, and he will be fit. So despite being the greybeard, this lightweight may surprise.
Finally, There’s Nemo’s only placing in his last 13 attempts was a first at Warwick in May.
My tip? Bet late after you’ve checked the candidates out in the parade ring.
It was great to see Kaylene and John Hamilton break through with Monte Lago ($11) at Dalby on Tuesday.
The Nanango based galloper, with Billie-Rose Derbyshire aboard, picked up the $10,000 Dalby General Steel BM 55 Handicap.
The bay’s 28 outings in Queensland have generated four wins, two seconds, six thirds and four fourths.
He has drawn an unhelpful stall at the start on ten occasions.
Meanwhile, Burnett representatives are scattered widely this Saturday.
Barry Phillips (with Orleans), Scott Pedron (Fort Myer and Stratalena), Glenn Richardson (Jill’s Shadow), Peter Blackwell (Navillus Rexted) and “Shorty” O’Toole (Star of Bethlehem) will be at Nanango.
Lindsay Anderson has aimed Glenthorn Avenue at the Gladstone Newmarket and Kristen Wenck is taking Ascot Bound and Nug’s Pocket to Toowoomba where five small fields are in play.
Nanango apprentices Hannah English and Hannah Phillips will ply their trade on home turf.
Good luck for Cup day.
And don’t forget to put on “basic black and a splash” for the Moffatdale Ridge Wines fashion contests.
See you at the track on Saturday!