Top Racers May Face Off

Jul 22, 2012

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A SHOWDOWN between two of Tasmania's brightest stayers could well be on the cards at Moonee Valley in August after the Team Brunton-trained Banca Mo arrogantly won Saturday's $70,000 Rising Stars Final (1800m) at Flemington.

Banca Mo (Ben Knobel) settled in the second half of the field before improving its position at the top of the straight. Banca Mo then accelerated with authority, leaving his opposition floundering as he and Knobel raced away to record an eight-length victory.

Banca Mo has always shown plenty of promise and Co-trainer Scott Brunton believes that the four-year-old could be the perfect replacement for Lady Lynette, who left the Brunton stables earlier in the year.

"He just keeps getting better with every race," Brunton said.

"We couldn't be happier with the way he's pulled up and he will now have a couple of days in the paddock to recover.

"When Lady Lynette left our stable it created a big hole, but we are very excited about this horse and, who knows, he could be Tasmania's next big thing."

Banca Mo is likely to contest a $100,000 Handicap (2040m) at Moonee Valley on August 4, a race that may see fellow Tasmanian stayer The Cleaner engaged.

"His big test will come at Moonee Valley and if The Cleaner is racing then it will make for an interesting race."

Longford trainer Mick Burles is contemplating a start with The Cleaner following its all-the-way win when resuming at Elwick on Sunday and is likely to contest a 2100 metre at Elwick on July 22, as his lead-up race.

Banca Mo was bought by Mandy Gunn for the bargain basement price of $2100 at the 2009 Tasmanian Yearling Sale and has now won seven of his 13 race starts, collecting $123,820 in stakes.

Punctuate will represent Team Brunton at Geelong on Tuesday, while Ishtar King and Forest Sky have both accepted for Ballarat on Thursday.

MEANWHILE leading jockey Brendan McCoull is confident that he will be back in the saddle for this Sunday's Spreyton meeting following an injury to his left shoulder after being dislodged from Streetwise Savoire behind the barriers at Elwick on Sunday.

"At this early stage I'm 90 per cent certain I will ride," McCoull said.

"There's no fracture, just some swelling and soreness. You're always a bit sore the day after a mishap like this but I have taken rides for Sunday and I'm keen to be fit enough to fulfil my commitments."

McCoull has a two and a half point lead over Steve Maskiell in the Jockeys Premiership while Victorian-based rider Anthony Darmanin is breathing down their necks in third with three meetings remaining.