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Namazu eyes successful Cup defence

Cups King Namazu will aim to continue his dominance of North Queensland racing when he defends his Townsville Cup (2000m) crown next month.

The former Godolphin galloper, who was purchased by his owners for just $40,000 through an online sale, staked his claim for the region’s best racehorse when he took out the Townsville showpiece and the Cairns Cup (2100m) in a purple patch of form 12 months ago.

Those two performances came on the back of his minor placing in the Mackay Cup (2000m), after which he enjoyed a well-earned spell before heading south to the bright lights of Brisbane at the start of this year to chase some city riches.

His successful summer stint with Steven O’Dea and Matt Hoysted included victory at Eagle Farm and creditable performances in the Sunshine Coast Cup (1400m) and The Archer (1300m), with Namazu returning north to Ricky Vale’s stables at the start of July to prepare for another tilt at the Cups.

The 5YO came agonisingly close at the weekend to adding the Mackay Cup to his CV, as the short-priced favourite was collared on the line by longshot Savvy Legend (trained locally by John Manzelmann). But his majority owner Pavel Cheimardinov is hopeful he can banish the painful memories of that near-miss and complete the Townville-Cairns Cup double for the second successive season.

“We were pleased with how he went down south,” said Cheimardinov, who runs a central Queensland construction company.

“He ran a huge race to finish second in the Sunshine Coast Cup first-up and was very competitive in his other races for Steve and Matt, and he’s come back up in great order.

“It was obviously disappointing not to win the Mackay Cup last start, but they softened him up and did everything they could to try to get him beat so even though he got nutted right on the line, it was a really brave run. It was a tough pill to swallow but he lost nothing in defeat, and it’s all systems go now for his defence of the Townsville Cup.

“We’ve obviously got some great memories of his win in the race last year, so we’ll head back again and make a holiday of it this year. Ryan Wiggins, who rode him in the Mackay Cup, takes the ride so hopefully they can go one better then if he pulls up well again, we’ll press onto the Cairns Cup.”

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