Bonnie On Song To Defend Casino Cup Title

PHANTOM Bonnie goes into Friday's Group 3 Casino Cup (484m) heats off a similar preparation to that which saw her brilliantly win last year's final.

David Brasch

17 November 2021

PHANTOM Bonnie goes into Friday’s Group 3 Casino Cup (484m) heats off a similar preparation to that which saw her brilliantly win last year’s final.

The daughter of Fernando Bale and Clover Cottage has drawn the seven in the opening heat of the series and comes up against a tough field.

“She’s had a bit of a problem with a hip support since the Lismore Cup series,” said trainer Mal Ross who prepares the bitch for long-time mate John Free.

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“I gave her a couple of weeks break, fixed the hip support and then tossed her into a couple of short ones to get some races into her before the Cup heats.

“That’s exactly the way she was prepared before she won the Cup last year, coming off a couple of 431 metre wins at Ipswich.”

Phantom Bonnie’s lead up runs this time have come over 411m at Casino, finishing second to Mia Magic and then turning the tables on November 11 when winning in 23.43.

“I believe she is going as good as she was last year when she won the Cup,” said Mal.

“I’m pretty happy with her. When she won last week, the track was rain affected and she did a good job.

“But she will need to lead to win her heat. Gee those Cup heats are full of quality opposition.

“She loves a wide draw so the six is OK for her, although I would have liked her to be out even wider.”

Phantom Bonnie has won 24 of her 45 starts but her career record at Casino is 20 wins from 33 starts. She has earned $73,000 in stakes.

Mal reports the dam, Clover Cottage, has just whelped five pups to My Redeemer.

“I wanted to keep with the Fernando Bale theme so decided on his son My Redeemer,” said Mal. “They are lovely pups, there is five of them and they are just 12 weeks old. We will be keeping them all.”

He also reports owner John Free has bought a Barcia Bale straw to use on Phantom Bonnie when she eventually retires to stud.

“John had planned to use the Barcia straw on Phantom Laurie, but I talked him out of that to keep it for Bonnie,” said Mal. “John has put Phantom Laurie to Orson Allen.”

Phantom Laurie (Zulu Zeus-Jimary Vixen) won 16 races and $43,000 proving to be a smart stayer during her career.

The Casino club will be delighted with the response to the Cup heats.

The opening heat has Derry Express, a last start third to Wow in the Goulburn Cup, and Deck Fifty Two, a recent second in the Capalaba Cup.

The second heat has Lismore Cup finalist Mercy Dash, Ipswich Cup finalist Strategise, Cranbourne Cup finalist Lucky Lance, top bitch Kooringa Lucy and Townsville Cup winner Dulceria.

The third heat boasts Fire Legend, last year’s Lismore Cup winner which was third this year, and Burnt Ends a Casino track record holder and recent Lismore Cup finalist.

And the fourth heat sees last week’s Ipswich Cup winner Louis Rumble take on flying Victorian Aston Titan, multiple recent feature race winner Showdown, and Grafton record breaker Orara Dan.