Brooks wary in Hunt Cup defence

Mark Brooks showing his affection for Jack Romanov after his Great Northern win last year. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Mark Brooks showing his affection for Jack Romanov after his Great Northern win last year. (Photo: Kenton Wright, Race Images).

Mark Brooks believes Jack Romanov might be vulnerable in the defence of his Pakuranga Hunt Cup title at Ellerslie on Saturday.

The Cambridge trainer said the eight-year-old, who was recently crowned the joint champion jumper of last season with Sea King, would definitely improve with the run in the Tractor Centre-sponsored 4900-metre feature.

“It would have been nice to have been able to give him a couple more runs, but circumstances haven’t allowed us to do that,” he said.

“He’s looking pretty good, but he won’t be as seasoned as some of the others. If it was over 4000 metres I would be more confident.

“There has to be a question mark whether he’s done enough, but it will tidy him up nicely for the Northern.”

The winner of the Hunt Cup and the Great Northern Steeplechase last year, Jack Romanov subsequently suffered a tendon injury that kept him out of action until July.

He then had a run on the flat before a third placing over the big fences at Te Aroha and he impressed when schooling at Ellerslie last week.

“Richard Cully came over to ride him and he was happy,” said Brooks. “He’ll ride him again on Saturday.”

Stablemate Goosebumps also schooled well and a decision on a Pakuranga Hunt Cup start for him has yet to be made.

“I’ll see what the nominations are like and what the weather may do,” said Brooks.

“The distance is probably right at the end of his capabilities, but he has been racing very well.”

Goosebumps beat the well-performed jumper Amanood Lad two runs back before finishing runner-up at Te Aroha.

– NZ Racing Desk.