THE photo on John Sprague’s fridge shows just how close Glitra came to winning the Port Cup Prelude a fortnight ago.
A photo finish was required before Miss Tickles eventually got the nod by a nose.
Sprague’s five-year-old gelding will line up for his first Port Cup race on October 6 and local knowledge could be what gets him to salute.
Local jockey Andrew Adkins will be in the saddle and Sprague feels that could make all the difference.
"With the 54 kilos he’s a good lightweight rider and you know you’re carrying the weight properly,” Sprague said.
“He’s ridden group winners in Sydney, first started working for me when he first learnt it all and has gone a long way in Sydney.”
Sprague said despite rain earlier in the week, he expected the Cup to still be run on a good track.
“A good track makes it a hell of a lot better,” he said.
“It makes it fairer racing; he doesn’t mind the wet, but he doesn’t get through it.”
The Port Macquarie trainer will still keep a close eye on the sky as his best chance is if the rain holds off.
“The little bit of rain will do it the track the world of good but there’s supposed to be more coming tomorrow, so hopefully it doesn’t arrive.”
In his days as a jockey, Sprague won most, if not all cup race meetings, except for the Port Cup.
He admitted to win it as a trainer would mean just as much.
“I’ve ridden every other cup winner; I’ve won the Taree Cup, the Kempsey Cup, the Gladstone Cup, the Wauchope Cup, the Wingham Cup – I’ve rode all of them – but I’ve never scored in a Port Cup so hopefully I can win it as a trainer.”
How well Glitra jumps out from barrier seven could be the key to the race.
“He usually starts quick and is normally up near the lead all the way,” Sprague said.
The 2000-metre distance could prove to be his downfall.
“Hopefully he can keep pegging along,” the trainer said.
“He loves this track, he’s run good races on this racecourse so hopefully home track advantage is a hell of a lot fairer than anything else.”