10 February, 2024

Morton ‘Sharp’ for Temlee

Avalon’s “Team Sharp” (Jessica & Jason) are still on cloud nine from the barnstorming win of Mortonin the $250,000 to-the-winner Group 1 Gold Bullion at Albion Park on February 1.

Hardly surprising, considering it was the first G1 victory in two decades of training for the popular husband-and-wife team.

But “when it rains, it pours” and the Sharps are hoping “everything is coming up roses” only nine days later when Morton (Box 4) contests the invitational G1 Sportsbet Temlee (525m) – Race 10, 9.50pm – at The Meadows on Saturday night.

Morton – who is $7 for the Temlee and $14 on the Australian Cup ‘All In’ market – is a track specialist on the Camp Road circuit with seven wins, one second and two thirds from 10 starts plus a stunning 29.55sec PB.

“He just loves The Meadows… He knows it back to front, it’s his home track.”

Winner of last month’s G2 Queensland Derby, Morton also finished third in last year’s G1 Silver Chief at The Meadows.

“He just loves The Meadows,” Jason said. “I think it’s because he started off there. He knows it back to front, it’s his home track.”

Jason says Morton “can definitely win” the Temlee, adding “he’s got a couple of strings to his bow”.

Owned by Darrell Heathcote, Morton has won 13 races, with two seconds and three thirds, from 20 starts and $414,995 in prizemoney. He’s won 10 of his past 14 starts and been unplaced only twice in his career. But back to the Gold Bullion and what the Sharps recall as Morton crossed the line in a nail-biting finish.

“I watched the race with the Heathcote family, and we had a really good view of the finish line,” Jess said. “I kind of knew (Morton had won), but you’re never really sure.


“But when the number five went up, we started celebrating. It was ridiculous, we just screamed. We laughed and cried.

“I think the whole track heard us. I lost my voice for three or four days. It was amazing!”

And this from Jason: “I was looking at bums, so I was just guessing. The race-caller called the other one (All Natural) as the winner.

“But when Morton’s number came up, it was a rollercoaster of emotions – just complete elation and emotional. Twenty years of dreams realised in 30 seconds.”

Now the Temlee beckons and if Morton’s number goes up the Sharps ‘cloud nine’ will gain even more silver lining!



Tim Zoo, Hector Fawley, Nature Strip, Pass The Buck and Cain Bale are among the big names to line up in Saturday night’s Group 1 Sportsbet Australian Cup heats (525m) at The Meadows.

A total of eight heats will be run, with the top three placegetters to qualify for the four semi-finals on Saturday week in the new-look Australian Cup Carnival format.

Also making it through to the semis will be the eight superstars that are set to tackle the $152,500 Temlee (525m) this Saturday night.

The Sportsbet Australian Cup final will be run on Saturday 24 February.