Lumsden looks for charge to step up

Dianne Lumsden and Zarbu have been side by side since day one.
Nanjing Night Net

Born and bred at the Berry Park stables of Lumsden, this gelding has gone on to salute six times at race tracks across the state.

But today the pair face their toughest test yet – the Muswellbrook Cup.

Zarbu boasts an impressive record at Muswellbrook, but the six-year-old will be up against tough opposition in the race, which is worth $60,000 in prize money as the Upper Hunter club celebrates its 150th year.

“I know he [Zarbu] has an excellent record up there and likes racing at Muswellbrook, but it will be a tough one to crack,” Lumsden said.

“He will be up against about half a dozen of his arch enemies, which is much more than usual.

“They have all beaten each other before so it will come down to the barriers, the weather and being best on the day.”

Berry Park trainer Dianne Lumsden is chasing victory today in the $60,000 Muswellbrook Cup with Zarbu – a six-year-old gelding with an impressive record at the Hunter Valley track.

Zarbu has raced seven times at Muswellbrook, for two wins and three placings, but Lumsden said the likes of Clickety Snip and Double Halo would provide the stiffest challenges along the 1500 metre journey.

A step up in class, a hard track and a change of jockey from the suspended Alex Stokes to Serg Lisnyy will also be difficulties faced by Zarbu today, however, the inside barrier draw of

two has fallen in Lumsden’s favour.

“We are going up there hopeful but we will need a bit of luck,” Lumsden said.

“But we will be there having a go and like my half owner from Mudgee [Kandos Hotel publican Roy Odgers] says, you’re better off out there than sitting at home in the stables.”

Zarbu’s last win was at Mudgee on July 1, just six days after clinching another victory on a dead track at Muswellbrook.

Off the track, Lumsden said Zarbu had a beautiful nature, which has been evident since he was born in 2006.

“Zarbu is one of the first I bred here at Berry Park and he is such a lovely horse,” Lumsden said.

“I would have 10 of him if I could.”

Lumsden’s seven-year-old gelding Rembetica is the third emergency for the race.

The Muswellbrook Cup jumps at 6.20pm.

In other action at Muswellbrook today, Lumsden has Bench Star (race four, number five) in the benchmark 55 handicap over 1280m while in the same race Koogar Rock (race four, number three) will go around for Lower Belford trainer Todd Howlett.

Howlett also has The Crusty Bag (race two, number four) in a maiden plate earlier in the day.

He will be hoping to repeat his success from yesterday, when Deceitful Don took out the first race of the two-day carnival at Muswellbrook.

Also today, East Maitland’s Ken Lantry will be up against Heddon Greta’s Errol Moyle in race five, the benchmark 56 handicap over 2300m, with their respective charges Agadez (number six) and Al Tiger (number one).

And Lantry has sprinter Short Shafted in the eighth and final event of the day, the benchmark 60 handicap over 1000m.

Racing at Skelletar Park starts at 1.45pm.

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