PORT Macquarie trainer Tas Morton will have no excuses on Friday if Don’t Nicme doesn’t finish first past the post in the Carlton Mid Port Macquarie Cup.
The Cup returns after last year’s event was not on the calendar due to the upgrade of the race track.
Morton said the lead-up to the Cup was just like the week before Christmas.
He can’t wait.
It will only be Don’t Nicme’s third run under the watchful eye of the trainer.
“He’s as fit as I can get him and he’s jumping out of his boots,” Morton said.
“Peter Graham has done a fantastic job working with me to get him right and we’re very happy with him going into the cup.”
A favourable barrier draw appears likely to give Don’t Nicme the best possible opportunity to break Morton’s duck in the Cup.
“He’s drawn barrier five which is a bit different to when he drew barrier 15 last time and had to work hard early to get up and across and he lacked a little bit at the finish,” he said.
“I’ve raced in the cup several times and had several placings but I’ve never won one so it will be great to win one.”
The gelding is a restricted class horse racing in open company, but I Morton believes he is a strong chance.
“On his times and sections I believe he can do he’s going to be very competitive and they’re going to have to run close to a track record to beat him,” he said.
Unlike some trainers, Morton admitted he wouldn’t have to hope for favourable weather conditions on race day.
“The track doesn’t worry us,” he said.
“If it’s a heavy 10 we’re happy and if it’s a good four we’re happy.”
The sea change for Don’t Nicme has been nothing short of a success.
“He was originally trained at Hawkesbury and he won three races down there and got a little bit stale,” Morton said.
“The owners decided to send him up to us to see if we could freshen him up a bit and he’s responded.
“It’s a big step to a Port Cup from where he’s been racing, but we expect him to run the race of his life.”
Morton was full of praise for how the track looked after the upgrade.
“They’ve done a fantastic job with our training track, it’s in beautiful condition and you can’t blame the track if we get beaten.”
Don’t Nicme will headline Morton’s runners with six to race on Friday.
He knows he’ll have to beat a very strong field to claim the Cup.
“I know the weights are condensed and we’ll probably meet the top weights worse off than what we should,” he said.
“We’ve only got 54 kilos and that’s no excuse, but put him in your multiples because I’m quite confident he’ll be there at the finish.”