MUSWELLBROOK trainer Pat Farrell is not sure exactly how many times he has won his home cup over a career spanning some 54 years.
The 75-year-old is sure, though, that “we’ve waited long enough to have one good enough for the next one”.
Farrell will try to win the $80,000 Muswellbrook Cup (1500 metres) with mare Alart on Friday – 34 years after Province gave him his last victory in the race. His first came with Fei Mar in 1968.
Alart was nominated for the Cup and Saturday’s meeting at Rosehill but Farrell chose Muswellbrook after drawing barrier two at home.
The four-year-old, with seven wins from 25 starts, was last successful on October 31 last year at Rosehill – a month after claiming the listed Reginald Allen Quality over 1400m at the same track.
After a successful trial at Muswellbrook, she resumed this preparation with a third and fourth at Rosehill over 1100m and 1200m to extend her winless streak to 12 starts.
Farrell believed Alart would appreciate a dry track and handle the extra distance in her first race start at Muswellbrook.
“We’re just hoping she can get the 1500 metres, she’s won over 1400 at Rosehill so she’s just got to get that extra 100,” he said.
“She handles the track, but I think where she lost her form was on the wet tracks. She couldn’t handle the wet, so I’m hoping if there’s any rain it comes Saturday, not Friday.
“She’s been good to us, but with the benchmarking, that's the way they are. They are hard to place after they win two or three races.”
Farrell expected Collar, one of two runners in the race from the stables of Cessnock trainer Jeremy Sylvester, to lead and he hoped Alart could gain a handy position with Josh Parr aboard from the inside draw.
Record-breaking Cessnock hoop Robert Thompson will ride Sylvester’s other Cup runner, Aomen.