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The Hunter: Sweet Deal and Cuba on target for Newcastle’s million-dollar feature

John Thompson has had to watch on in frustration as Sweet Deal was dealt blow after blow but, if she draws a decent gate on Wednesday, she’ll have no excuse in Saturday’s $1 million The Hunter (1300m) at Newcastle.

The six-year-old won the Group 3 Toy Show Quality (1100m) first-up at Randwick before two ninth placings and a fourth last start behind Positive Peace in the Group 3 Nivison (1200m).

That was on a Heavy 8 track and she won’t have to worry about that on the good, drying surface at Newcastle, where she’s one once and ran second on two occasions from three runs at the circuit.

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Cuba winning at Royal Randwick. Picture: Grant GuySource:The Daily Telegraph

“She was a good first-up win and at her next two runs she just got wide draws and had to work too hard to go forward and last start the track was just too wet for her,” Thompson said.

“She tried hard but the wheels were spinning a bit when the chips were down. It looks like we’ll get a nice dry track on Saturday and she’ll get back to her best.

“She races well at Newcastle.”

Sweet Deal is Thompson’s class runner heading into the second edition of The Hunter but Cuba is his in-form horse.

The All Too Hard six-year-old beat home Criaderas last start over 1400m at Randwick and was less than two lengths behind the classy Probabeel two runs prior.

“He’s been going well all preparation,” Thompson said.

“He always goes terrible second-up. We tried to counteract that by taking him to Melbourne for a run but he still went terrible. He was terrific third-up last start.”

Trainer John Thompson will saddle-up two runners in The Hunter at Newcastle. Picture: getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Thompson said luck in running will determine which of his runners have the best chance of winning the rich race this weekend.

“They worked together on Tuesday morning and all I can say is that there’s nothing between them,” he said.

Trumbull opened as a $6 favourite for The Hunter but firmed in Tuesday morning to $4.50 in front of Flit and last year’s winner Savatiano, who are $8 hopes. Signore Fox, the Ramornie Handicap winner, is another horse that’s been saved for a dry track and he’s $11.

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Originally published asGood draw will sweeten Deal for Thompson

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