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By Glenn Davis
Stablemates Atouchmore and Romakash will attempt to give Toowoomba trainer Matt Kropp his third win in the Roma Cup on Saturday.
Kropp won his first Roma Cup when Les “Bubba” Tilley booted home Spice Of Life in 2016 before claiming a second trophy when Atouchmore was successful for jockey Brooke Richardson last year.
Atouchmore was having his first start on the sand track at Bassett Park when he won the Roma Cup and hasn’t been back since the victory.
The six-year-old has won seven of his 37 starts and will go into the 1640-metre country feature second up after returning from a North Queensland campaign.
“He had five starts up north for two placings and was a bit unlucky not to win a race up there,” Kropp said.
“He’s probably not in the same form as he was when he won the Cup last year and he’s second up after having a short break following his north Queensland campaign.
“There’s not much between Atouchmore and Romakash but I’d probably have to give Atouchmore a slight preference.”
Kropp believes experience on the tricky Roma track is a decided advantage but is not concerned with Romakash being untried on the sand.
“It’s an advantage to have had a start at Roma for most horses but Atouchmore won the Roma Cup at his first attempt on the track,” he said.
“Romakash is more a 2000 metre horse but I train most of my horses on the sand track at Toowoomba so he should handle it.”
Romakash has started 21 times for six wins and five placings for Kropp’s long-time clients Roland and Sharon Hovey.
The Hovey’s also own Spice Of Life and stable star Trusty Lad who competed well but without success at the highest level during the Brisbane winter carnival.
Trusty Lad was a close up fourth in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes before fading to finish well back in the Group One Queensland Derby at Eagle Farm in the winter.
Racing Queensland webnews November 15