McNab chasing Telegraph double

Chris McNab has a strong chance of completing a Telegraph Handicap double in two roles when he saddles up Trepidation at Trentham tomorrow.

The Cambridge-based horseman won the 1981 Telegraph Handicap aboard the top sprinter-miler Anderil, who was prepared by the three-way training partnership of Dave and Paul O’Sullivan and Mike Moroney. Anderil defeated Diplomante by a short neck with Valencia a length back in third placing.

McNab enjoyed other success riding Anderil and was in the saddle again when he finished third in the 1982 Telegraph Handicap behind Our Shah and Diplomante.

Now 34 years later, and as the private trainer for Windsor Park Stud, McNab goes into the Gr. 1 $250,000 J. R. & N. Berkett Telegraph Handicap with Trepidation, who will be one of four horses attempting to give the Cambridge region its fifth Telegraph win in the last 10 years.

Gee I Jane, prepared by Neville Couchman, started the Cambridge ball rolling when taking the 2006 Telegraph Handicap, then two years later Seachange, ridden by Gavin McKeon and trained by Ralph Manning for The Oaks Stud, was the toast of Cambridge when proving her superiority in the Trentham feature.

Vonusti then credited Cambridge trainers Tim and Margaret Carter with their first Group One success in the 2010 Telegraph Handicap in the hands of Noel Harris, while a couple of years later Guiseppina, owned and bred by Peter and Philip Vela, provided Maungatautari trainers Steven Ramsay and Julia Ritchie with their first Group One highlight when James McDonald guided her to an impressive win.

Gee I Jane was ridden by top Sydney jockey Scott Seamer in her Telegraph victory and, coincidentally, McNab has called upon another in-form Sydney rider, Sam Clipperton, to take the reins on Trepidation tomorrow.

Trepidation has been ridden in her last two starts by Noel Harris, but through loyalty to his long-time friend Alexander Fieldes he has stuck to his regular mount Ginner Hart. McNab then secured the services of Kelly Myers for Trepidation, but she was suspended and the decision was finally made to look for an Australian rider.

Trepidation gets into tomorrow’s event on the 53kg minimum and she only needs a change of luck to give McNab further Telegraph Handicap glory.

She chased Natuzzi home in the Listed Hallmark Stud Newmarket Handicap and was unlucky when a fast-finishing fourth to In Style in the Gr. 1 Sistema Railway Stakes.

The roomy Trentham track suits Trepidation as she showed when winning at the corresponding meeting two years. She was prepared at the time by Paul and Kris Shailer and took a Rating 75 1200 metres by four lengths in a swift 1:8.29.

The second of her three starts at Trentham was two months later when she charged home for second in the Listed Lightning Handicap — again behind Natuzzi, who ran the 1200 metres in the same time Trepidation recorded in her Wellington win.

Trepidation has drawn barrier 11 tomorrow and alongside are two of the other Cambridge hopes, Sacred Star (12) and Ruud Awakening (13). The Ramsay and Ritchie-trained Silver Eclipse has fared worst at 17.

Sacred Star, the mount of Vinnie Colgan, has pleased trainer Tony Pike with his condition going into the Telegraph, his first run since finishing ninth over 2040 metres in last October’s Gr. 1 Livamol Classic. He took the eye in a recent exhibition gallop and has the class to be right in the finish tomorrow.

Ruud Awakening, prepared by Stephen Marsh, clashed with Trepidation in the Newmarket (fourth) and Railway (sixth), performances which suggest she could be near the form which saw her win the 2013 Karaka Million and Gr. 1 Haunui Farm Diamond Stakes. She hasn’t won since the Diamond Stakes but her connections have been heartened by her recent efforts.

It would be a case of déjà vu for the connections of Silver Eclipse if Matt Cameron can work his magic from the outside barrier on the Listed Pegasus Stakes winner. Guiseppina also had the outside draw when she won the Telegraph three years ago.

Like Trepidation, Silver Eclipse is a past winner at a Wellington Cup meeting, Last year she defeated the highly rated Cauthen by a nose in a three-year-old 1200 metres when running 1:8.70.