CHRISTMAS CHEER: Trainer Vanessa McLennan with her horse Curley Mac.
CHRISTMAS CHEER: Trainer Vanessa McLennan with her horse Curley Mac. Adam Hourigan

Curley searches for Christmas miracle in Cup feature

CHRISTMAS CUP: Glenugie trainer Vanessa McLennan will be hoping for a little bit of a Christmas miracle when Curley Mac steps onto the Clarence River Jockey Club turf in tomorrow's Christmas Cup (1200m).

The experienced runner has proven himself a real trier for the McLennan stable and tomorrow's feature will be no different as he lines up next to some top outside talent.

While McLennan has full faith in her galloper's ability she knows there will be a factor of luck over the shorter distance and against a strong field.

"I do have my doubts on this race because it is a strong field and there is plenty of pace on offer but it will come down to how the track plays out," she said.

The seasoned galloper took his wins column to double digits at Coffs Harbour last month and after a short freshen was back on track at Ballina where he finished an unlucky fourth to Dan Want-trained Dantga.

It has only been another short three week freshen before this race but McLennan explained that it would not faze the runner at all.

"He is a horse that just loves to be in work," she said. "We just give him a quick break and freshen him up for a couple of weeks just to keep the longevity in his preparation.

McLennan has enlisted the services of Grafton jockey Matt Paget for the Christmas Cup ride, reigniting a connection that has been successful in years gone by.

"Matty will be quite happy because it has been quite a while for the pair," she said.

"I reckon Matt will actually suit him over the short course because he is not a 'sit quiet and bring home' type of rider.

"He is a good pace horseman, he likes to sit out front and dictate the terms which will go well over the 1200 metres."

The sprinting feature will be an audition of sorts for Curley Mac with McLennan aiming the seven-year-old at the Daniel Baker Sprint (1200m) feature at Coffs Harbour in three weeks.

The sprint which is traditionally held on Coffs Harbour Gold Cup race day had to be postponed this year after a freak hail storm disrupted the day in August.

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