Grafton trainer Hunter Kilner with Steve's Surprise, which will be striving to win a second consecutive Beef Week Cup today.
Grafton trainer Hunter Kilner with Steve's Surprise, which will be striving to win a second consecutive Beef Week Cup today. Adam Hourigan

Hunter sets his sights on Casino double

STEVE'S Surprise will return to Casino today chasing a second consecutive Beef Week Cup (1400m) and aiming to burst through the $100,000 prizemoney barrier.

Prepared at Grafton by Hunter Kilner, Steve's Surprise has had just one start at Casino for a win in the $30,000 feature last year.

The five-year-old gelding son of Stratum is in great form, coming off wins on the Gold Coast (1200m) and at Grafton (1106m) before lumping 59.5kg on a heavy track at Grafton for a good third to My Cousin Bossy and Fabry in the Brushgrove Cup (1206m) last time out.

He finished just a length- and-a-quarter behind the winning pair a week ago and has dropped half a kilogram while drawing well in barrier seven.

Casino Racing Club secretary-manager Renee Opryszko said it would be an impressive feat if Steve's Surprise could win a second Casino RSM Club Beef Week Cup with his big weight after carrying 54.5kg to victory in the race in 2016.

He has regular jockey Matthew Paget aboard and last year he drew wide as well.

From 29 starts he has won seven times with 10 placings and accumulated $99,770 in prizemoney.

"It's a very strong cup," Opryszko said.

"A tough 1400m. We have 10 races and it's going to be a huge day."

While Steve's Surprise chases successive cup wins, Eagle Farm trainer Tony Gollan has three chances with topweight Heart Of A Warrior, seven-year-old gelding High Esteem and six-year-old Encosta De Lago gelding Lord Coconuts.

Heart Of A Warrior (4) and High Esteem (3) have drawn well with Robbie Fradd and Alana Fancourt taking the respective rides while Lord Coconuts has drawn 14.

Murwillumbah trainer Matt Dunn is also represented with five-year-old Show A Heart gelding Red Bowers.

The gelding has won seven of his 29 starts and will have his first look at Casino today from barrier two with talented Matthew McGuren in the saddle.

The Beef Week Cup meeting also has some good support races with a Two-Year-Old Hcp (1000m) starting proceedings with a full field of 12.

The Leo Clapham 50 Years @ CRC Benchmark 60 Hcp (1200m) is the final race on the program.

"Leo has been training here for more than 50 years," Opryszko said.

"He's been great for the club and deserves this honour. He does have a few horses in during the day as well."



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