The Cody Morgan-trained Ligulate has been promoted to favouritism for the $500,000 Country Championship final after his heat win at Tamworth.
The TAB reacted immediately to Ligulate’s victory on Sunday, firming him from $9 to $6 for the final at Randwick on April 4.
The former Godolphin sprinter is now owned by an Australian Bloodstock syndicate and has been with the Tamworth-based Morgan since June last year.
With Samantha Clenton aboard, Ligulate started the $3.30 favourite in the 1400m-heat and beat the Stephen Jones-trained Hit The Target ($12) by 1-1/4 lengths despite having to race wide.
Morgan admitted Ligulate could be a difficult horse at times but his talent was there for all to see.
My brother (Luke) has helped a lot with him,” Morgan told Sky Thoroughbred Central.
“He keeps telling me he needs to take him back to the farm and teach him some manners because he’s a reptile.’
“But it was a pretty soft win in the end.”
Clenton and Morgan have been friends for many years and she rode Ligulate to win at Rosehill at his first start for his new trainer last July.
“Cody has always supported me and Australian Bloodstock have stuck with me,” she said.
“When I won on this horse at Rosehill Cody told me he was on a Championships path and I said I’d love to ride him.
“He had a beautiful run. We just had to wait for a split. I know he can produce a short sharp sprint.”
“He’s going to be very competitive in the final in four weeks.”
The runner-up firmed from $51 to $15 for the Championship final.