While it would take a pair of scratchings for Peter Cornish's Athena's Voice to get a run in the 1700m Well. Cup on Sunday, the Orange trainer is confident his in-form mare would have a red hot crack if it made the cut.
The five-year-old is riding a wave of four consecutive placings and despite a much stronger field than she's used to, Cornish wouldn't be surprised to see the $26 chance give the other horses a run for their money.
"If she gets into the race she'll be very competitive," Cornish said.
"There's fairly good horses in it which is why we're so far down the list. These city-class horses take precedent."
"If we get into it and run midfield or better we'll be really happy."
While Athena's Voice's $125,000 career earnings aren't to be laughed at, Sunday's favourite - White Boots ($4.40) - has more than double that ($282,000), giving an indication as to some of the quality featured in race six on Sunday.
Athena's Voice's last start at Towac Park saw her finish a nose away from first place (losing to $31 chance Happy Partner) and Cornish attributes that to the distance of the run, suggesting it was a pinch too short.
"She's more suited to 2000 metres but even if that was 1700 she probably would have won," he said.
Although the short-term focus is getting into the race at Wellington, Cornish would be lying if he said he didn't have an eye fixed on the Orange Gold Cup on April 17 at Towac Park as he's viewing Sunday's event as a 'pre-race run' to keep her ticking over before her home event in two and-a-bit weeks.
"That's our target and if we can have a run on Sunday then that'd be a bonus. She's never won one at Orange. She's been doing most of her racing up north," he said.
Cornish weighed in on the current health crisis and is crossing his fingers that racing sticks around, not only so his horse can keep competing, but more importantly to keep thousands of Australians employed.
"It's bad there's no crowds or bookmakers on course but it keeps the industry ticking," he said.
"There's 70-odd thousand people still employed because racing is continuing so it'd be good to see those workers keep their jobs.
"The fact that racing is still going stops people from turning their horses out, too. It's all a bit of a disaster. Hopefully we all stay safe and everyone's careful so racing can continue."
Cornish is one of many who's hoping NSW and Australia doesn't follow in the footsteps of Tasmania as it cancelled all of its dogs, harness and thoroughbred racing on Thursday for a minimum of four weeks in an effort to slow the transmission of COVID-19 as the state now has 74 confirmed cases.
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