Grant Young will be hoping winning form continues to be good form for Exalted Lightning heading into the Strathalbyn Cup.
Five of the last six winners of the Strathalbyn Cup have won their previous start, with the only exception being last year’s winner Ustinov’s Fury. The Shane Oxlade galloper defied recent history with his win in last year’s Cup and smashed the field to win by close to seven lengths. Four runners in Sunday’s Cup are coming off last start wins including Exalted Lightning, We’re So Lucky and Igitur.
Exalted Lightning has found a new lease on life after transferring to the Grant Young stables with four wins and two seconds from nine runs, doubling his career winning tally in that time from four to eight.
“He’s just a very happy horse at the moment, he’s taken to our program nicely. It took him a fortnight for him to get into his groove with us but he’s just thriving at the moment,” trainer Grant Young said.
“The Strathalbyn Cup looks a nice stepping stone for him as we’ll look to head to the Listed Birthday Cup in a couple weeks and then onto the Lord Reims and then the Adelaide Cup.”
Exalted Lightning’s chances will be buoyed by the booking of the in-form Todd Pannell who notched up 12 winners across the state in January, the most of any jockey.
“Todd’s absolutely flying at the moment. He has a really good understanding of the horse and he’s such a balanced rider. I think his style suits him nicely as he can get a sit in the middle and keep him balanced throughout the trip.”
All eyes will be on Gary Searle’s latest addition to his stable, More Than Fabulous. The ex-David Payne galloper contested the Listed Breeders Plate at Randwick in his first race start, which was won by Golden Slipper winner Vancouver and has also contested races against Everest winner Redzel. In his recent years he has stepped up to staying distances in Sydney, however he has not saluted since July 2016.
Darryl Dodson will be hoping his mare We’re So Lucky can emulate the feats of Texan Warney who claimed the feature the 2015 feature for him. The mare is in good from coming off a five length win in the Coonawarra Cup a fortnight ago.
Locally trained galloper Igitur is undefeated at his home track with three wins from three starts for Emma Hubbard however he is one of three dual acceptors in the Cup who have also accepted at Morphettville on Saturday. Emooki’s Dash and Ballast are the other two dual acceptors.
Historically well supported runners have done well in the Cup, with five of the last six winners starting at $5.50 or below. The only blow-out winner was in 2016 when Sandhill Star claimed the feature at the huge odds of $51 with Matthew Poon aboard.