Trainer Cameron Crockett counting on fast tempo to suit Pure Fuego in Tamworth qualifier
Scone trainer Cameron Crockett expects a fast early tempo to help Pure Fuego storm home late in the Country Championship qualifier at Tamworth on Sunday.
Pure Fuego, a $5 TAB favourite, was first emergency for the $150,000 Hunter and North West region heat (1400m) but gained a run after the scratching of Brett Cavanough-trained Fender. It meant Crockett was to have three runners in the race but Midsummer Rain was withdrawn on Friday.
"She's having colic surgery as we speak," Crockett said of the mare on Friday.
"She's a very good horse and I just hope everything goes right with her today."
Crockett was optimistic about Pure Fuego's hopes, despite a wide gate. The four-year-old has gate 12 of 14, with the remaining emergencies out. Pure Fuego won at Muswellbrook and Tamworth this time in before a last-start second to Media Starguest at Newcastle.
"He ran into a fairly smart horse that day, too," he said of the latest run.
"And he was first time on wet, gluey ground, a soft 7, and he had 60.5 kilos, but he'll be back on a dry surface on Sunday with 4.5 kilos less.
"I'm not too concerned [with the barrier]. I think they are going to go pretty quick. There's a lot of horses inside him with no form past 1100-1200, so you might be counting your blessing to stay out of trouble, as long as we can get some cover."
His other runner, Brother Bassy, has also drawn out and he said that would hurt the front-runner's chances.
"Pure Fuego is a bit more adaptable ... but Brother Bassy has to be up there, rolling along," he said.
"He's run a record at Tamworth over a mile, so the circuit is not an issue. But he's a front-running, seven furlong-mile horse and I feel this is going to be run at a much more solid temp than your normal 1400m race."