By MIKE HILL
LEADING WA trainer Paul Stuart will take a strong trio of sprinters into this month\’s $37,500 Mandurah Cup (490m) as he chases back-to-back victories.
Stuart won last year\’s feature with More Deductions and hopes one of his smart three – Quartararo, Serong or Lucci Guru – can give him his third success in the Group 3 series.
The outstanding six-time Group finalist Astrozone gave the trainer his first cup success at Mandurah in 2017.
\”I\’ll be trying my best to go back-to-back,\” he said.
Stuart said track favourite Quartararo (Tureaud-Sialia) was definitely his best chance at landing another major triumph.
And he\’s hoping the sprinter can match the deeds of his namesake French motorcycle champion Fabio Quartararo, who is leading the MotoGP world championship.
The black sprinter is a Mandurah specialist, the trainer said.
\”It\’s his favourite track. He doesn\’t handle the Cannington 520m but he loves the 490m at Mandurah,\” he said.
\”It\’s his home track and he\’s the in-form sprinter there.
\”This is the highlight of the year for him.\”
Stuart said Quartararo – with a record of 23 wins at the track, 21 over the Cup distance – would be best suited by an inside draw.
\”With the corner start an inside box is key to him,\” he said.
This is backed up by the fact that the popular sprinter constantly runs best-of-night times when jumping from box one.
Stuart also has a high opinion of promising youngster Serong, who he says is still learning his craft.
The Fernando Bale-Starlight Shine youngster has an impressive record of eight wins and five placings from just 19 starts with $62,455 in earnings.
\”Although he\’s done most of his racing at Cannington, he has trialled at Mandurah and the roomier track will suit him,\” the trainer said.
\”Although he\’s a young dog on the rise, he\’s still learning about the pressure of finals racing.\”
Serong was strong in winning (from box two) the Listed The Westchase (520m) at Cannington in early July and then qualified for three successive feature finals during August, with a third behind Stargazer in the Listed WA Sprint Gift his best placing.
Stuart said before the recent Peter Thomas final that Serong had \’clicked\’ since his return from a break in June.
\”He\’s always had ability; he just took a little time to mature and learn,\” the trainer said.
\”He gets a little better with every run and continues to develop as a race dog.
\”He\’s got the right attributes; he\’s a perfect dog in the kennels and he\’s got all the good habits.
\”He\’s still a bit hit or miss out of the boxes and he\’s got more improvement ahead of him in regard to his race craft but he\’s getting there.
\”I like where he\’s going.\”
The trainer also likes his promising youngster Lucci Guru.
The Fernando Bale-Velucci red fawn dog has raced only four times for three wins and a second – all at Mandurah but over the shorter 405m journey.
Despite the dog’s inexperience, Stuart said he\’d give the young sprinter a shot at the feature.
The Mandurah Cup series kicks off with heats on Friday, October 1, and the $25,000-to-the-winner final a week later on October 8.