Canterbury previews: Thompson has designs on an upset victory


Kookabaa is set to start a rank outsider in the fourth race at Canterbury on Wednesday and his trainer Brett Thompson had to look twice when seeing the market for the first time.

He’s the only horse at double figure odds in the fourth race despite having a win at the track and taking on a field without a standout runner.

Thompson was scratching his head when he saw his six-year-old come up at $13.

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“I don’t know why he’s those odds. We think he’s a good thing. They must have not seen his runs,” he said.

“He was against good horses in a few starts in Sydney and he almost upset a few that went on to Group races.

“He’s going to be peaking for this run and the next one so I’m really looking forward to it.”

Kookabaa ran fourth at Canterbury last start but apprentice jockey Reece Jones told Thompson he was to blame for the defeat.

“He wins the other day if Reece didn’t relax him as much mid-race and he said that himself,” Thompson said.

“He came straight back in and said ‘I’m sorry, when I relaxed him, I relaxed him too much and he was two or three lengths further back than I wanted to be’.

“If he didn’t do that, he thought he would’ve won the race. If it was further, he probably wins. The winner went through the line well too but I think he could’ve pushed it to the limit.”

Campbell Rawiller takes the ride and his 3kg claim gets Kookabaa into the race with just 56.5kg on his back from barrier five.

Rawiller’s ride will be key.

“I wish we drew a bit better because that can be an awkward gate at Canterbury. You can get trapped deep from that gate so I hope it opens up enough for him to get across,” Thompson said.

Kookabaa stays at his pet trip for Wednesday’s race but Thompson has to get him out to 1200m soon.

He’s never won over more than 1100m so some may say it’s his limit.

“I don’t agree with that. He didn’t have much of an opportunity with us over 1200m when we got him back into good form,” Thompson said.

“I think he’ll run 1200m without any worries at all. I know all his best wins have been over 1100m but he was in bad form when we got him.

“He’s a different horse now to what he used to be. He used to pull the house down and they couldn’t hold him but he doesn’t do that anymore.

“We took all the gear off when we first got him and it just relaxed him.”

The reason why Thompson wants to prove the doubters wrong and win a race with Kookabaa over 1200m sooner rather than later is so he can showcase him as a Kosciuszko horse in the spring.

“We want to win in town because that’s the race we want to get to. If we can win this then win a Saturday race it will open their eyes up,” Thompson said.


It’s not every day a horse walks into your stable off back-to-back wins and trainer Gary Moore is hoping Crosscheck can build on her form at Canterbury.

The ex-John O’Shea-trained mare lines up in the fifth race after winning at the provincial and the midweeks before heading for a spell and a new stable.

Moore said the four-year-old has done nothing but impress him as he prepares her for a new chapter.

“Both her trials were very good when not fully extended. Jason Collett has been happy with the way she’s trialled so she’s in it with a shot,” he said.

“There is rain about and she does excel on a rain-affected surface and she’s well within herself and she’s very fit and I think she’ll run very well.

“I was impressed by the last two wins she had including a win on a Heavy 8 so overall she’s a really nice mare.”

Moore is slightly worried the 1250m might be a touch short of her best but a soft track will negate that slightly and Collett will be given the right to ride her how he sees fit from barrier eight.

“It might be a little bit short for her but it’s her first run back after five months and she is on the fresh side,” Moore said.

“If you look at her past runs, she’s come from off the speed. She has also won sitting outside the leader so she’s very versatile and I’ll leave it Jason.

“It’s always a question mark but I think she’s versatile.”

Lucky To Win is Moore’s other runner, in the third race and he’s back to 1250m.

Moore has been tinkering with him for some time, trying to find

“He’s been disappointing but I thought I might have got it wrong last preparation in sprinting him,” Moore said.

“I tried to stretch him this preparation but that wasn’t working so I’ve freshened him up and dropped him back in trip and put the blinkers on him.

“He looks in great shape and if he races like he’s trialled he should run well. He’s won a trial on a heavy track so he’ll go on the soft ground.”

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