An emphatic win by Northern Knight in the 2021 John Carlton Cup over 1190m on Westlawn Finance Black and Gold Race Day has given astute Coffs Harbour trainer Brett Bellamy a dilemma.
But not a bad one.
While the seven-year-old geldings determined victory means the horse is exempt from ballot for the Grafton District Services Club Ramornie Handicap on July 7, his trainer revealed he has other plans for Northern Knight during his post-race interview.
“We were leaning more towards the Maclean Cup at the end of the carnival,” he said.
“And after that, we are looking at the Sawtell Cup and the Coffs Harbour Cup for him.
“But if things change and the Sydneysiders can’t make it up, it might open the field for a few more locals.”
Jockey Raymond Spokes said he didn’t expect Northern Knight to win after the horse drew the visitors draw and jumped from barrier 13.
Describing Northern Knight as a horse with plenty of ability following the race, Spokes told Sky Thoroughbred Central the trick is “to get it out of him.”
“He’s a good horse and we’ll see where he goes from here,” he added.
Northern Knight’s win in the John Carlton Cup was his first since December last year.
The horse was also having his first start in five months since finishing second at Eagle Farm in January.
Despite some early interest from punters, Northern Knight started at 15/1 and narrowly defeated last year’s John Carlton Cup winner Exclusive, with the game grey gelding unable to kick back strongly enough on the inside, despite the urging of his jockey Stephen Bennett.
Locally trained galloper Bugalugs finished third for John Shelton and Ben Looker after leading the field into the home straight.