HOMETOWN trainer Tim Donnelly has not given up hope that grand campaigner Devised can claim the $140,000 Wagga Gold Cup (2000m).
Devised will contest his fourth Gold Cup on Friday, having been beaten a nose in 2012 and 2013 before a luckless fifth placing in last year’s event.
Donnelly always targets his hometown Cup with Devised and this year’s campaign looked over two weeks ago due to injury.
Scans cleared Devised of any damage and the seven-year-old will now take his place in the feature event.
Devised missed a vital lead-up run but Donnelly believes it is not a concern for Devised’s Cup chances.
“The missed run hasn’t worried him at all,” Donnelly said.
“Matty Cahill said when he ran in that mile race first up that he could have run 2000 and he ran really well in that too.
“I think his lead up run this year was better than last year.
“Plus, since the Cup last year he had an operation a couple of months later and since then he’s only been out of work about two weeks.
“He had rehab, then he had a couple of runs just to get that base fitness into him and then he had four weeks off, but two of those were on the water walker.
“So really, he’s got a good amount of fitness.”
Devised has not won since the 2013 Murrumbidgee Cup.
That does not worry Donnelly.
“He’s only had 30 starts, three starts since last year’s Cup,” he said.
“He can’t win first up and he’s had four starts at that..a lot of his runs he’s had no hope in.
“You think he hasn’t won for a long time but he hasn’t had a lot of runs and he hasn’t had many chances.”
Donnelly hinted that a victory on Friday could be a fairytale finish to Devised’s career but he is likely to campaign the horse for a fifth Cup tilt next year.
His other runner, Jo Jo Girl, is rated a $35 chance for the Gold Cup and has the services of Tommy Berry.
Donnelly thinks she is a much better chance than her price suggests.
“She’ll run really well, she loves the track and she loves pace on,” he said.
“Her two runs at Wagga this prep there’s been no pace on and that’s not her go, she just keeps whacking away on a good pace.
“She needs them to plug home and she’ll wear away...she always takes a few runs and she improves all the time.”
Donnelly believes Trade Commissioner is clearly the horse to beat.
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