VETERAN trainer Hunter Kilner has two milestones in his sights when his talented five-year-old gelding Steve's Surprise lines up for the Brushgrove Cup at Grafton today.
After two wins from his last two starts, Steve's Surprise is on a hat trick and if he can run second or better he will take his prize winnings above the $100,000 mark.
"Chris Waller and the likes are looking to top the $1 million mark,” he said. "We have to be happy to top $100,000 around here,” Kilner said.
But the draw hasn't favoured the consistent runner who has not finished out of the money in his last five starts.
"If he wins from the 17 alley, he deserves to get a hat trick,” a taciturn Kilner said yesterday.
"And for a horse that's only won six races I can't believe the weight (59.5kg) he's carrying.”
While the draw and the weights are against him, the distance (1206m) and jockey are in his favour.
"He doesn't want to run a mile,” Kilner said. "It seem's like 1400m is as far as he wants to go.”
Kilner has booked Matt Paget for the cup tomorrow, knowing he can get the best from him.
"Matty's ridden him for four of his wins for me, so he seems to have know the horse as well as anyone,” Kilner said.
While Kilner was not too hopeful for his runner this afternoon, he was looking forward to the Beef Week Cup the following week, where Steve's Surprise had a win last year.
"We'll set him for that and then look at the July Carnival,” he said.
"I started him in the Maclean Cup last year and he didn't do much good.
"I could look at either the Maclean Cup again or maybe the South Grafton Cup, but at the moment I'm playing it by ear.”