By 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.