Muswellbrook Cup: Annandale Lass ready to return after enforced break

Prelude winner Annandale Lass is “100 per cent” for Friday's Muswellbrook Cup (1500m) after being denied a shot at the Cessnock and Mudgee cups by Racing NSW stewards.

TOUGH: Annandale Lass winning the Muswellbrook Cup Prelude. Picture: Katrina Partridge Photography

TOUGH: Annandale Lass winning the Muswellbrook Cup Prelude. Picture: Katrina Partridge Photography

The Herald was told the mare was stood down from racing until November 8 on welfare grounds following her Muswellbrook Cup Prelude victory on November 20. 

Trained at Cessnock by Dean Jackson, the seven-year-old was fifth at Rosehill two days earlier and was nominated for the following Friday’s Cessnock Cup.

Concerned stewards stepped in and stopped Annandale Lass having a third run in six days, despite not inspecting the horse after her win at Muswellbrook.

The Muswellbrook victory was her seventh run in a month, in which she had two wins and two placings. It was her fourth success in 22 starts since debuting for Jackson on May 21. She also placed six times in the 27-week period.

Overall, Annandale Lass has raced 71 times for 12 wins since starting her career in December 2013.

Jackson would not comment on the stewards’ decision but said his horse was ready for the Cup. 

“The horse is 100 per cent,” Jackson said. “It holds its form. I think it will go all right but there’s a lot of good horses in it.

“She will be competitive but it’s a lot stronger than what she’s been racing in. But who knows, she’s a tough horse.

“I’d like to draw a barrier but the last few times she’s drawn out, she’s come home all right, but somewhere on speed would be good.

“The prelude wasn’t a bad run and she shows a bit of guts every time she goes out. She’s tough and got the will to run. She loves doing it.”

Jackson, 34, came from a harness racing background to work with Cessnock trainer Jeremy Sylvester before deciding “to give it a crack myself” two years ago. 

He has just two horses in his stable and hopes to expand.

There were 27 nominations for the $100,000 Cup on Monday. Acceptances for the 14-horse event close Wednesday morning. The Gai Waterhouse-trained Dee I Cee, winner of the listed Premier’s Cup at Rosehill in August, led nominations.