Houston hoping to be luckier this time

Lucky Tonight, who is being set for another Australian jumps campaign.

Lucky Tonight, who is being set for another Australian jumps campaign.

Shelley Houston is looking to build on the success she enjoyed on her first visit to Australia with Lucky Tonight.

The Cambridge trainer and former successful jumps jockey campaigned the jumper in Victoria last winter, saddling him for seconds at Casterton, Pakenham and Sandown and in the Grand National Steeplechase at Ballarat. He earned just shy of A$110,000 from his four appearances.

Since returning from a spell, the eight-year-old has had preparatory runs on the flat at Ellerslie and at Matamata before Houston accompanied him across the Tasman last week.

“We’re at Archie Alexander’s place at Ballarat,” said Houston. “We stayed here last time and they’re really good people.

“I’m really happy with the horse and he’s going to have a jumping trial at Cranbourne on the 19th (April) and, at this stage, he’ll run in a two-mile steeplechase at Pakenham on the 23rd.

“I was surprised that he has to trial, given that he’s already raced here, but it will bring him along a bit more.

“The race at Pakenham will also tighten him up again then we’re looking at Warrnambool.”

Houston is hopeful of running Lucky Tonight in the Grand Annual Steeplechase over 5500 metres at Warrnambool on May 4.

“There’s a shorter distance race for him at the carnival, but ideally I’d like to run him in the 5500,” said Houston.

“He’s a lot more forward than he was this time last year and I expect him to be very competitive again. His preparation has been good and Richard Cully wants to stick with him.”

A two-time winner of the New Zealand jumps jockeys’ premiership, the now Victoria-based Cully finished second aboard Lucky Tonight in the Crisp Steeplechase at Sandown last August.

“He’s a very busy rider, but he’s our first option,” said Houston.

– NZ Racing Desk.