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Hail Manhattan primed for Mackay-Townsville Cup double

DSC-6066.jpgBy Glenn Davis

Co-trainer Peter Hulbert is confident Mackay Cup winner Hail Manhattan can overcome a one-kilogram penalty to claim the Townsville Cup.

Hail Manhattan will this Saturday become the trainer's first runner at Cluden Park.

Hulbert has had a dream year and his best since he started training more than 40 years ago, winning the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate with Criminal Defence during the 2021 TAB Queensland Winter Racing Carnival in Brisbane.

Hulbert, who trains in partnership with son Will, isn’t overly concerned with the penalty Hail Manhattan received following his brilliant win in the Mackay Cup on July 24.

“It’s going to take a good horse to beat him,” Hulbert said.

“He’s done a treat since his Mackay Cup win and he’s doing really well in the warmer climate up there.

“He ran second in the Rockhampton Cup, when he had to give away 4.5kgs to Gai Waterhouse’s Regal Stage, and he only got beaten less than one length.

“He then had to carry 60kgs in the Mackay Cup and his jockey, Ryan Wiggins, said he won with plenty in reserve.

“I know he’s got more weight this time with 61kgs but he’s strong and he can carry big weights.”

Hulbert is wary Cluden Park can be a graveyard and deceiving track for visiting horses.

DSC-5998.jpg“Although he’s up a kilogram, I think Hail Manhattan can win again but I know at Townsville you don’t go the early crow as a lot of horses get home late,” he said.

“I’ll be holding my breath.”

Hulbert hasn’t ruled out extending Hail Manhattan’s Provincial Cups campaign to include the $150,000 Cairns Cup over 2100 metres on August 28 and the $150,000 Cairns Amateur Cup over the same trip two weeks later.

“We’ll see how he goes in the Townsville Cup first but there’s a chance he could go on to the two Cairns Cup races later on,” Hulbert said.

“After that he’ll come home and I’d like to qualify him for The Wave at the Gold Coast.

“He’s not eligible for the Magic Millions but he can qualify for a wild card into it if he wins The Wave.”

Hail Manhattan stamped his class during the summer carnival in Brisbane, winning the Listed Member’s Cup over 1600 metres at the Sunshine Coast.

He has won seven of his 22 starts under the Hulbert banner and is owned by an all-Victorian syndicate. 

“One of the owners wanted to have a horse trained in Brisbane and he met Will on Facebook,” Hulbert said.

“Originally I didn’t think he would get 1400 metres but Will was always confident he’d get a mile or more and he’s been proven right.”

Hail Manhattan