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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis

OH BROTHER! CROFT FINALLY WINS THE FORBES CUP


Image: Bradley Photos

SUNDAY: August 6, 2023: FORBES Cup regular Terry Croft has had “a few cracks” at winning the Central-West town’s flagship race without good fortune going his way.

Until today.

The long-standing Hawkesbury trainer landed the $50,000 Cup (1600m) at the Showcase meeting with $26 shot Just A Brother, and also finished third with another $26 roughie Royalzel.

“I’ve been coming to Forbes for 12 or 13 years for their Cup meeting; it’s one I really look forward to,” Croft said as the celebrations began before returning home tomorrow.

“We’ve had a few cracks at the Cup and it’s great to finally win the race.

“Forbes Jockey Club was pretty pleased about it as well; in fact I think they were even happier.”

Croft has won races at the Cup meeting with horses such as Four Suns (2013), Colonial Reign (2016), No Escape (2017), Rose Of War (2019) and Bartandthequeen (2020).

The feature race, though, had eluded him – and he felt he had two terrific chances with favorites Vite Loni ($3) in 2016 and his great campaigner, the now retired No Escape ($2.50) two years later.

Sadly, Vite Loni went amiss in the race and had to be put down, whilst No Escape was poorly ridden.

“The apprentice went too fast on him in front, and yet he was beaten less than two lengths,” Croft said.

Croft gave Just A Brother, who was passed in for $25,000 at the 2019 Inglis Ready2Race sale in Sydney as an early two-year-old, a let-up after his third in the Wellington Cup (1700m) in late March and set him for the Forbes Cup.

Clayton Gallagher rode the now six-year-old at Wellington, and was keen to partner him again today.

He gave the gelding time to settle in midfield, hugged the rails to save ground and had to merely switch around leader Not A Bad Idea’s heels well into the straight.

Just A Brother finished off well to defeat Ruban Bleu ($9) by a length, with the winner’s stablemate Royalzel third.

Croft had three runners in the Cup, with his other representative Straya Pride ($81) tailing the field home after finishing fifth last year when a $51 to $21 firmer.

He also had runner-up I’m A Shaker ($3.40 favorite) in the Class 1 Handicap (1400m) after making the trip to Forbes yesterday with his horses.

The Forbes Cup carried eligibility for the $3m The Big Dance (1600m) at Royal Randwick on November 7, but Croft feels the “consolation” $750,000 Little Dance over the same distance that day may be a better alternative.

The same with Royalzel, who also became eligible by finishing second at big odds in the Mudgee Cup (1600m) last December.


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