Surprise packet in Maclean Cup run
MACLEAN CUP: This year’s July Racing Carnival has been relatively quiet for local trainer Hunter Kilner, but he hopes to go out with a bang in the final feature race – tomorrow’s $30,000 Maclean Bowling Club Maclean Cup (1400m).
Kilner will saddle up Steve’s Surprise with Matthew Paget in the saddle.
Kilner has targeted the Maclean Cup for some time with his five-time winning four-year-old.
“It’s been a quite carnival for us. Hopefully, we can have some luck on Sunday,” he said.
Steve’s Surprise had been in super form, winning races at Lismore, Grafton and Casino (Beef Week Cup) before his last start 2.8 lengths eighth to Red Bowers in the Murwillumbah Newmarket on June 26 when he was dropping back from 1400 to 1200m.
That was the son of Stratum’s first outing in 30 days.
“We tried to have him declared a non-runner,” Kilner revealed. “They never closed the gates fully behind him. He fell on his nose out of the barriers then the jockey pushed him along and rode him for speed, which really didn’t suit us.
“Really, there was nothing wrong with the run. Some of the others were just superior on the day.”
Steve’s Surprise has form around Harold Norman’s Gold Horizon in the Beef Week Cup. Gold Horizon finished second to Steve’s Surprise, came out and won at the Gold Coast, then was unlucky at Rockhampton before his win in last Sunday’s South Grafton Cup.
Steve’s Surprise came to Kilner via West Australia. He was owned by Kilner’s brother, Steve.
“He leased him to people from Bangalow but still retains an interest,” Kilner said. “That’s where the horse got his name from, my brother Francis Stephen.”
Steve’s Surprise has had another 21 days off since the Newmarket.
“He’s going along okay,” Kilner added. “His work’s been good and I think he’s on par with what he was doing when he was winning those races.
“He’s got a nice weight (54kg), a nice barrier (five) and it looks a nice race for him.
“He should get a cosy run near the pace and we’ll see what he can do.”
Kilner will also saddle up Aussie Guetta and Sound Of The Pound in minor races tomorrow.