If ever there was a horse with the right form lines heading into a feature race, then Dellacqua fits the bill perfectly. The David Jolly trained mare is in the right stable, on the right track and with the right jockey on her back heading into Sunday’s Strathalbyn Cup.
The mare is undefeated in her two runs this year, both at the Strathalbyn track and interestingly all of her four career wins have come at Strathalbyn too. David Jolly has an unbelievable record at his home track this season. He’s had 39 runners for 12 wins and 12 placings and is nine wins ahead of his nearest rival trainers at the track this season. If that’s not enough, Jake Toeroek will take the ride on the mare who he’s ridden to three of her four career wins and to cap it off Toeroek has notched up 11 wins at Strathalbyn this season at a 32.4% strike rate.
It’s been a long time between drinks for Fantastic Magic, a year in fact, but last year’s Strathalbyn Cup winner returns to defend his crown on Sunday. Grant Kluske’s seven-year-old might not have had much luck over the last twelve months but he gets one of Australia’s most in-form jockeys aboard him in the Cup. Raquel Clark notched up 23 winners in January, the second most of any jockey in Australia, just four shy of Western Australia’s William Pike.
The Strathalbyn trained horses always seem to run well at their home track and Emma Hubbard’s Igitur is no exception. Her five-year-old has had six runs at his home track for four wins and should be ready to fire over his favourite distance after a disappointing first-up run a couple weeks ago. Chris Caserta is really starting to find his feet here in SA and with 54kgs on his back on Sunday, you just can’t write off a local in their hometown Cup.
Grant Young’s Exalted Lightning was runner-up in this race last year before winning a Listed feature on route to running sixth in last year’s Adelaide Cup. While he hasn’t been in the same kind of form he was this time last year, Young knows how to get the best out his horses and Exalted Lightning has a great record at both the track and the distance.
One horse that is on an Adelaide Cup path is Barry Brook’s Meli Melo. The mare returned from five months off a couple weeks back when she stepped out at Morphettville in BM90 grade. The 1800m was a bit short for her on her first-up run and the 2050m on Sunday will be more up her alley. Jason Holder sticks with the mare and will still be high on confidence after riding four winners at Murray Bridge on Sunday.
A horse who will desperately be hoping for a change in fortune is Will Clarken’s El Desperado. The four-year-old has only had one win in his 13 career starts but amazingly filled the placings on ten occasions. He ran third behind the Phillip Stokes trained Good Idea at Gawler earlier this month over 2100m and has had close to a month off between runs as he lines up in Sunday’s Cup. Strathalbyn local Justin Potter will take the ride on the Clarken horse and with only 54kg, is a serious danger in this race.
The other Morphettville trained visitor, Billet Doux is another horse with a solid chance on Sunday. The Gordon Richards trained five-year-old claimed the 2017 Northern Territory Derby over 2000m and while that race was his last victory, he’s well overdue a win and could get his chance on Sunday.