09/10/2009 12:00AM

Monsoon Rain needs to find form


Monsoon Rain will be looking to defend his title in the $75,000 Gold Cup and Ruby's Big Band will be trying to topple the boys in the $50,000 Winnipeg Futurity at Assiniboia Downs on Saturday.

Saturday's card originally had been scheduled as the last of the meeting, but four days have been added to compensate for early cancellations. Racing will continue Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evenings and conclude with a matinee program on Sunday, Sept. 20.

Monsoon Rain clinched local horse of the year and top older male titles with his 11 1/4-length romp in last year's 1 1/8 mile Gold Cup. His position this year is more tenuous, however, as Monsoon Rain finished fourth as the prohibitive choice in the 1 1/16-mile R.J. Speers and then ended last of 10 at Northlands Park in his last start, a one-mile optional $40,000 claimer/classified allowance.

Renaldo Cumberbatch takes over aboard Monsoon Rain, who is trained by Chad Torevell.

Rock'n U S A was the champion sprinter in the province last year but failed to get the distance in both the Speers and Gold Cup. Trained by Tanya Lindsay, Rock'n U S A started twice here this spring but then was off for 2 1/2 months before returning with a highly impressive 7 3/4-length win in the one-mile Gold Cup prep.

Alan Cuthbertson, who has moved his tack to Vancouver, is back for the weekend stakes in Winnipeg and could go all the way with Rock'n U S A in a field where speed is at a premium.

Grow Up, riding the crest of three straight wins, is in with a big chance as he breaks from the rail under Rocco Bowen in the field of 10.

Brinello, a Manitoba-bred who is the top money winner in the field with $194,922, finds himself in tough in open company but is in rare form.

* Ruby's Big Band, trained by Charlie Smith, is 2 for 2 at Assiniboia Downs with wins over Honorable Lady in both the 5 1/2-furlong Debutante and six-furlong Osiris. Their rivalry will continue in the six-furlong Winnipeg Futurity, which has attracted a field of eight.

Mark Anderson retains the mount on Ruby's Big Band, while Cutherbertson again gets the call on Honorable Lady.

Mankato Strike, also trained by Smith, finished fourth behind Honorable Lady in the 5 1/2-furlong Graduation, but was a smart winner at his Canterbury Park base last time out and will have leading rider Larren Delorme in the irons.