Top trainer Trevor Andrews has fond memories of the Roma Cup, having won the prestigious winter race on three previous occasions. Without a runner on Saturday, Andrews won’t add to his tally, but in the build up to the Amelia Park Group 3 feature, that has arguably assembled one of the best line-ups in the races rich history, he is more than happy to reflect with Julio Santarelli on the wins of Luckygray, Modem and No Questions.
JS: Thanks for your time Trevor in the build-up to Saturday’s Amelia Park Roma Cup, a race you have won on three occasions: Modem, No Questions and Luckygray, it’s been a good race to you.
TA: It’s always a good race with good horses and it’s been a beauty.
JS: Is there one that sticks out as being that little bit more special or is that an unfair question Any win is a good win?
TA: I would probably have to say Luckygray, because he wasn’t at his best when he won it.
JS: It was a huge effort to win first-up in 2015 and a great training effort on your behalf. He was out for a year after a pretty bad accident. He damaged ligaments and missed the whole of the 2014 Ascot carnival.
TA: He got away from the attendants and fell over in the car park at Ascot. He did some damage, so it was a pretty good effort to get him up and going again. But he was never really the same horse after that incident.
JS: Luckygray won a Railway and a Kingston Town for Gino Poletti and then raced in Melbourne with Robert Smerdon. Did you feel any pressure when he arrived at your stable?
TA: When he came back from Melbourne he ran second last in the Toorak Handicap. He won a Railway with me in his first prep, so I wasn’t under any pressure. When he came back I didn’t do a lot with him, just put Shaun O’Donnell on him and did what they had done in the past. His Railway win was massive.
JS: What an association with a super horse.
TA: He was a funny sort of horse. Even though he was a super race horse and super athlete we didn’t find him to be a very affectionate animal around the stable. But his biggest attribute was his action, he moved like a cat, he was light on his feet. Of the three horses he would be the best obviously, but Modem won a Railway and a Kingston Town and No Questions won a Karrakatta Plate as a juvenile, so they were all pretty good.
JS: By circumstances all three of those horses started their careers elsewhere with different trainers.
TA: Shane Edwards had No Questions and she was sold to Geoff Evans and I got her after that. Paula Wagg had Modem early in the piece and Gino Poletti had Luckygray.
JS: Was there a story behind Modem?
TA: Stan Quinlivan was the owner and he didn’t mind moving them around. I was lucky he came my way.
JS: What was Modem like? He had such a golden run in 2004: the Roma Cup, Belmont Sprint, the Railway and Fruit N Veg, now known as the Kingston Town Classic.
TA: Early on he used to get a bit keen and race forward. We sort of anchored him out the back and got him to switch off. He had a lethal turn of foot and that was his biggest attribute. He was a magnificent type, towards 600kg and a really big, strong horse. Great constitution, copped plenty of work. But when we taught him to switch off and relax he possessed a great turn of foot. That was a big attribute.
JS: You really enjoyed what he could do?
TA: He was a ripper horse and we probably didn’t see the best of him. When he got to Melbourne he got galloped on quite badly in the Blamey Stakes and had a tendon issue from then on. He was a pretty special horse to us.
JS: No Questions was in ripping form leading up to the 2007 Roma Cup. Second in the Matchmaker, won the Hyperion, second in the Easter Stakes, third in the Bolton before the Roma Cup.
TA: She was a ripper of a filly. I remember the e-Tracker, which is a satellite navigation tool that we put on horses to measure their heart rate, she had probably the best tracing of any horse I’ve ever trained. She had such an incredibly low heart rate. She was just really efficient and tough. You don’t often see a 2YO filly train on, but she was one that did.
JS: Three great winners of the Roma Cup, but Luckygray the stand out in your opinion?
TA: He was so good to get up and win after that incident. That was so pleasing after such a long layoff. He had 33 starts, 14 wins, super horse fresh and better at 1400m than a mile. He still holds the current weight carrying record of 58kg in the Railway, not only a good horse at weight-for-age, but very good at handicap conditions.
JS: You must feel blessed to be part of his journey?
TA: It’s well documented that the owners had a fall out with Gino and I was lucky that they approached me to take him on. Gino and I are pretty good mates and he was happy to give friendly advice. It was all good.
JS: Are you a trainer who looks back and reflects on past wins?
TA: It’s good to have those achievements for sure. And the Roma Cup is a really good race. All the good horses from the Winterbottom, Lee Steere, Railway Stakes, Kingston Town, it’s too long in the paddock for them, it’s a good path for mid-winter. It’s always a good race with plenty of atmosphere.
JS: Saturday’s Roma Cup promises to be a beauty.
TA: It’s probably the best ever.
JS: If you could have one horse in the race who would it be?
TA: I reckon Vega Magic. He’s trialed super and I know Sean (Casey) is tickled pink. If we didn’t have this corona virus he would probably be racing in the east coast. We are the beneficiaries. But there is also Black Heart Bart and Gatting, it’s a super field. It’s going to be a cracking race.