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Deadly duo aiming to repeat NQ success

Boutique Townsville trainer Tony Comerford is hoping for a repeat dose of feature race success with jockey Nathan Day as he chases his first win in the Townsville Cup with emerging stayer Deadly Diva.

The pair combined to win the Cleveland Bay, Townsville’s feature sprint, with Deadly Choices two years ago and are now aiming to pull off a win in the City’s premier staying contest with that horse’s younger half sister, Deadly Diva.

Deadly Diva is raced by north Queensland based owner-breeders Lindsay Miller and the Hick family, who also bred Deadly Choices.

“I’ve had a bit of luck with Nathan in the big races,” said Comerford.

“It was a bit of a thrill to win the Cleveland Bay. When Nathan got off in the Mackay Newmarket the start prior he said if we draw an alley in the Cleveland Bay, we’ll win.

“We drew 16 alley but to be honest, after they went 500m he was one off the fence and just got the perfect run.

“We also won the Cairns Amateurs Cup that same year with Rocknet.

“We’ve had a bit of a combination in the big races so looking forward to doing it again if we could.”

While Deadly Choices was already a well established commodity with 12 wins to his name before his Cleveland Bay victory, it’s a completely different story with his baby half sister.

Just four starts ago, Deadly Diva was racing for less than $10,000 in prizemoney on the dusty tracks of Mount Isa as she progressed through her grades.

However, a return to her favoured grass surface as seen her storm into Townsville Cup contention with two wins at her past two starts, including a win in the Winter Cup (2000m) to earn a golden ticket into the $150,000 Townsville Cup on August 6.

Comerford, who has a small team of four horses in work, concedes she will face some better credentialled opposition on the big day but is more than willing to have a ‘throw at the stumps’ given Cup runners don’t come around that often.

The trainer’s best chance to win the Townsville Cup previously in his 20 years on the job came with Rocknet, who ran eighth in 2016 when one of the favoured chances in the race before finishing down the track the following year.

“It’s hard enough to get one in it, let alone win it,” he said.

“It was lucky (to get the golden ticket), she wouldn’t have got a run otherwise with her rating as she was only a 66 rater beforehand.

“You’ve got to have a throw at the stumps.

“We’re going into the race having won her last two starts so that’s got to amount to something you’d think.”

Day said Deadly Diva had earned her chance at a Cup run.

“She did a good job. The Cup will be a lot harder obviously and it might be a year too soon for her, but if she gets a wet track her chances will improve.

“She’s got a start and you gotta have a go.”

Off the track, Townsville Turf Club CEO Malcolm Petrofski said the club was preparing for a bumper Townsville Cup crowd, with many areas already sold out.

Ahead of the big day, Cluden Park has also developed a new area for winning connections to enjoy that winning feeling in comfort in the members lounge for all race meetings.

“Over the carnival this area will be enhanced and moved to ground level at the entrance to the members building to allow for greater access and recognition of the winning owners,” said Petrofski.

“We see these steps as adding value to the race day experience.”

If you are looking for tickets please go to the website www.cludenpark.com.au for all the details.

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