09/26/2002 11:00PM

Fast pace will set up Sir Pucker


WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Sir Pucker goes for back-to-back stakes wins as he faces seven other older horses in Sunday's $60,000 Gold Breeders' Cup Stakes.

The $30,000 Osiris Stakes, for 2-year-olds at one mile, is also featured on the closing-day card.

One of two entrants in the 1 1/8-mile Gold Breeders' Cup trained by Harry Kube, Sir Pucker has won 4 of his 6 races here this year. In his last start, the R.J. Speers Stakes, Sir Pucker stalked a five-horse pace battle before making his move on the final turn and drawing off by 5 3/4 lengths.

Sir Pucker will probably take a stalking trip again, behind likely pacesetters Speedy Treat, Deputy Country, and Beau Ring, after he breaks from post 2 under Jacques DesAutels.

Deputy Country finished second in R.J. Speers after being caught four wide in the early stages. Never worse than second in five starts in western Canada this year, Deputy Country was making his first start against stakes company in the Speers.

Trained by Carl Anderson, Deputy Country begins from post 7 and will be ridden by Ken Hendricks as Anderson Ward, aboard for his last two starts, has chosen to ride Gus Again.

Speedy Treat won the restricted Agassiz Stakes and Manitoba Maturity this year, and the only bad race of his eight-race career came two starts ago when he finished 12th in the Wheat City Stakes. Trained by Emile Corbel, Speedy Treat will start from post 6 with Juan Crawford aboard.

Gus Again lost the Agassiz by a nose to Speedy Treat, one start after he finished second behind Sir Pucker in an allowance race.

Also trained by Kube, Gus Again breaks from post 5.

The Gold Breeders' Cup will be the last start of Smoky Cinder's illustrious career.

Smoky Cinder won the 1997 Canadian Derby on his way to being named horse of the year in Manitoba as well as the province's top 3-year-old.

In 1999 Smoky Cinder was named Manitoba's horse of the year for a second time, and was also named the top older horse. Smoky Cinder begins from post 3 under Rohan Singh.

The field rounds out with Rim Dancer, Top of the Hour, and last year's Gold Breeders' Cup winner, Beau Ring.

In the Osiris, the top three finishers from an allowance race here Sept. 13 meet again in a race that should decide this year's top local 2-year-old.

Mr Don was a nose better than Sovereign Creek Sept. 13, while two-time stakes winner and pacesetter Suntana faded to finish third.

Also entered in the Osiris are Picture the Answer, winner of the restricted Prairie Lily Sales Stakes at Marquis Downs two starts ago; Wild Ruler, who won the restricted Buffalo Stakes in his last race; and Hey Vic'turr.

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