Blazing towards Cup success

Blazing Ash will certainly be the omen bet in the Tumbarumba Cup on Saturday. Photo by David Thorpe Racing Photos.

If there was ever an omen bet for the Tumbarumba Cup, punters have found one this Saturday with Blazing Ash contesting the feature event.

The aptly named Victorian, who is trained by Wangaratta trainer Dan McCarthy, will be a popular choice for punters after the devastation of the Dunns Road bushfire.

“It really will be an omen bet,” McCarthy said.

“There have been some tough times for a lot of people up in that region and if the omen bet can win and bring on a few smiles, that would be great.”

McCarthy, who is waiting on the final fields to be released tomorrow morning, is cautiously optimistic but admitted Blazing Ash’s chances would be impacted by the final barrier draw.

“We are confident but it all comes down to the draw,” McCarthy said.

“No matter where she draws, she is an on-pace runner and will probably lead, so the closer to the rails, the better.”

The five-year-old is in good form as she prepares for the $14,000 race, most recently running a game third at Wangaratta on January 23 and before that running a dogged fourth at Cowra on January 14 and winning at her home track on December 14.

“She is going terrific, she is in great form,” McCarthy said.

“Her last three starts have been very good and she is in good health and I expect her to hold her form on Saturday.”

The Keep of Faith mare, which has won four races from 21 starts and $66,120 in prize money, will have apprentice hoop Alexandra Bryan on board.

“We will actually claim two (kilograms) with Alexandra Bryan on board for the ride,” McCarthy said.

“She is a good local jockey and we are confident she will go well on Blazing Ash.”

Despite having never raced at Tumbarumba, McCarthy believes his mare will handle the tight-turns and subtle undulations of the unique course; features that have made the mountain track renowned Australia wide.

“I have never been to Tumba, but I’ve certainly heard a lot about the track and it’s characteristics,’ McCarthy laughed.

“Unfortunately, you can have an idea of how a horse will go but you just never know until you get there on the day; still, she is a leader and has won on the tight-turning Wodonga track.”

The Victorian trainer also had another reason why he chose to take on the Tumba Cup, suggesting that the surface would play in his charge’s strengths.

“She loves a firm surface and hates the cut out of the track,” McCarthy said.

“The firmer the better, so she will definitely be in her element.”

Blazing Ash won’t be the only runner McCarthy prepares for the Tumbarumba Cup, with Pittsburg also nominated.

The six-year-old is a winner of four races from 24 starts but hasn’t reached tasted success since winning the Albury Mile in March 2018.