Cranbourne Heroine Eyes Group 1 Glory

CRANBOURNE Cup winner Often Imitated will take aim at her first Group 1 trophy in Saturday night’s Rookie Rebel invitational (600m) at The Meadows.

Gerard Guthrie

13 February 2020

After careering away with her hometown Cranbourne Cup, versatile Victorian blueblood Often Imitated will take aim at her first Group 1 trophy in Saturday night’s Rookie Rebel invitational (600m) at The Meadows.

Often Imitated, a daughter of former superstar stayer Sweet It Is, claimed her second Group 2 title last Saturday with a dominant display in the Cranbourne Cup Final (520m), having previously won the McKenna Memorial (595m) at Sandown Park last July.

Trained locally by Kel and Jackie Greenough, Often Imitated started $2.20 favourite from box one in the Cranbourne Cup and she took full advantage of the rails alley to lead all-the-way in a best of night 30.09s in extremely windy conditions.

In defeating Jaro Bale by 5.14 lengths, Often Imitated took her earnings past the $200,000 mark and gave the Pearcedale-based Greenoughs their second Cranbourne Cup, having won the race in 2015 with Avondale Porche.

“She took advantage of the box, which certainly helped,” said Kel Greenough.

“I tend to overthink things – what if this happens or that happens – but I knew the two (Scatterbox) was going to give her a bit of clear running. I’d watched its replays and it generally stays up the track.

“It was really a matter of whether she blew the start, which she can do, but this time she didn’t.

“She probably deserved to win another nice race. She has got a bit of quality and class and it’s nice to see her get a reward for it. She’d won the McKenna Memorial but it would probably have been an underachievement if she didn’t win another one.

“Around Melbourne Cup time she copped some ordinary boxes and didn’t have any luck.

“She would need everything to go her way to win a Group 1 but she gets her chance on Saturday night I guess.”

After collecting the Cranbourne Cup’s $50,000 winner’s cheque, there was more good news for the Greenoughs and Often Imitated when she drew box two for the middle distance Rookie Rebel, one of three Group 1 events headlining the opening night of the Australian Cup Carnival.

Surprisingly, Often Imitated was left off the initial list of Rookie Rebel invitees, but after drawing well she’s the $3.50 second elect in TAB’s market behind $3.20 favourite Rajasthan, which is drawn alongside her in box three.

Often Imitated ran third to Rajasthan in the Maidment Memorial over 595m at Sandown in January prior to the Cranbourne Cup series.

“Box two is great but she’s probably not as well-boxed as it looks because of the way the other dogs are drawn around her,” Greenough explained.

“The red (Perfect Marshall) wants to move up the track and Rajasthan will head for the rail. Rajasthan knocked her over the last time they raced. He cut her in half. I’d be thinking the four (Waging War) is pretty well-boxed.

“But Often Imitated takes a bump pretty well; I’m just hoping it’s a gentle one and she can find her way to the rail.

“She’s not a strong 600m bitch. Somewhere between 500 and 600 is probably ideal. She does 500 pretty easily but sometimes she’s better off if she can draw a good box over 600 and find the front, break them up and hang on.

“She’s nowhere near as strong as her mother (Sweet It Is) but she’s probably quicker.”

Often Imitated is a member of Sweet It Is’ second litter, by US sire KC And All, which also featured the brilliant sprinter Aston Kimetto, which won the Geelong and Ballarat Cups and Warragul St Leger before injury cut short his 23-start career.

The Greenoughs also prepared Never Duplicated, which banked $50,000 prizemoney and has produced litters to champion stud dogs Bombastic Shiraz and Fernando Bale.