Fullerton Cove trainer Lisa McDonald hopes the return of driver Mark Callaghan can help Master Catch qualify for a $30,000 final at Menangle on Saturday night.
Master Catch will contest heat one of three when he returns to headquarters after a last-start seventh there on July 18. The five-year-old was beaten almost 10 metres but that was after he galloped when checked while making a late run down the outside.
"He got clobbered and he was just getting going," McDonald said. "Anthony Butt hadn't driven him before, it was 2300 metres and they were going in Indian file. I wanted him to get going and when he did get going, someone came out in front of him.
"Considering he got his legs taken out from under him late, he went good. He wouldn't have been far off them."
She hoped for better luck on Saturday night.
"The McCarthys are always hard to beat in these things but he worked really good this week and he won't be far away," she said.
"It's a good draw for him in five. He should get a good spot and Mark knows him pretty well. He's won on him and almost won a group 1 on him."
Callaghan guided Master Catch to a heat win and close second in the Hunter Region Championship final at Newcastle in May.
Under COVID-19 guidelines, horses trained outside the metropolitan area can use only drivers from their zone when racing at Menangle. Callaghan will be at the meeting with Royal Gamble. He was a narrow runner-up at Menangle last start and has gate nine in heat three.
The top three and the fastest fourth qualify for next Saturday night's final.
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