Motu Crusader returns for Cup

HIGH-CLASS Victorian pacer Motu Crusader had his colours lowered in last year's City Of Launceston Cup but should make amends in the $20,000 feature event at Mowbray on Sunday night.

Although this year's race has attracted a handy field, it's nowhere near as strong as 12 months ago when Motu Crusader finished third behind Greysteel and Our Chain Of Command.

Our Sir Jeckyl ran fourth and favourite Beautide fifth, after a tough run.

Motu Crusader went on to win the $40,000 Tasmania Cup in Hobart a week later, leaving the same horses - and quite a few other big names - in his wake as he scored by eight metres.

Victorian owner Merv Butterworth has sent the seven- year-old back to Brighton trainer Zeke Slater for another short campaign and, although he hasn't raced for more than two months, Motu Crusader looks too classy for his City Of Launceston Cup rivals.

The gelding has won only once since he was last in Tasmania but rubs shoulders with the best horses in the country almost every time he races.

He was placed behind Bitobliss and Smoken Up at Melton four starts ago, then ran fifth off a 10-metre handicap behind Chancellor Cullen in The Gammalite at the same track in mid-September.

He was unplaced behind Caribbean Blaster and Smoken Up at his last two runs before a spell.

Well-performed Queenslander Western Mail, a winner of 23 of his 52 starts, adds interest to Sunday night's race.

He boasts a 1:53.5 win at Albion Park but has never raced at the same level as Motu Crusader.

Up-and-coming local four-year- old Dapper Dana takes on the toughest task of his short career while locally trained former Victorian Ransom Olds looks the other main chance if he finds his best form.

The Tasmania Cup will be run in Hobart on Sunday week.

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