Newcastle trainer Jay Hopkins knows all too well the value of having a crack at his home features with veteran Got Unders.
And he is hoping a slice of luck to get into the group 3 Cameron Handicap (1500m) will lead to lightning striking twice on Friday.
Got Unders, now nine, shocked Kris Lees-trained group 1 winner Sound Proposition in the Cameron last year, wearing down the topweight on the line to give Hopkins his biggest thrill in racing. Before that, Got Unders was a surprise second in the 2017 group 3 Newcastle Newmarket.
The trainer has not had a winner in 50 starts with his small team since the $26-shot saluted in the Cameron and he was glad to get another start, with scratchings, after Got Unders was initially first emergency.
“We’ve had a few placings but it hasn’t been the best year so hopefully it gets better,” Hopkins said. “Hopefully it starts on Friday.”
Hopkins, though, said expectations were realistic given the poor barrier in 14 and much tougher field this year. Got Unders was $80 with the TAB.
“Last year he had a really good prep leading into it,” he said. “But he’s getting older now and he’s starting to feel a few things. He’s good and well now, but he’s drawn a bad gate. But he loves Newcastle, if you look at his record and at the distance, so it’s logical to run him.
“We’ll go in again as outsiders in a good field but that’s the way we like it. No expectations.”
Got Unders was given a short break after pulling up sore when 11th in the Tamworth Cup. He returned with 10th in the Ramornie Handicap and seventh at Rosehill a month ago.
Hopkins said the two most recent runs were better than they seemed on paper given Got Unders was caught wide both times.
Rachel King, who won on Got Unders in 2015, has taken the late call to ride the veteran, which will have his 61st race start.