By Geoff Newling
A local winner of this Sunday’s $40,000 McDonalds 2018 Armidale Cup (1900m) looks a distinct possibility after Armidale Jockey Club received good nominations for the club’s feature race meeting on Monday.
AJC secretary Jim Dedes said the club received 163 nominations in total with 19 for the Armidale Cup and 22 for Sunday’s main support race, the $25,000 De Bortoli Wines 2018 David Dye Memorial Newmarket Open Handicap (1100m).
“Nominations have been very good,” Jim Dedes said. “Only the Thunderbolt 2YO noms have been a bit light on (9) but we’ve extended that and hope to get a few more. If we get a field of eight or nine for that it will be a real good day.”
Dedes said recent rain has the track in peerless condition: “All the rain we’ve had has taken the sting out of the ground,” he said.
“We’re supposed to get 29 degrees on Friday so the track will be perfect on Sunday. We had a working bee the other day and the committee walked the track. They reckoned it’s the best they’ve ever seen it. Got a great grass coverage, thick too.”
The 19 Cup nominations contain a number of locally-trained horses with good chances.
“We haven’t had a local win it since Keith Hiscox won it with Derivate Receipt or Stafford Wain won it and quinellaed the race as well, I think. Stafford has nominated Latitat (trained by his son William wain) for Sunday while Stirling Osland has two – Exilia Miss and Rage Against. Exilia Miss won at Coffs last Saturday and Rage Against has been running some good races.
"Lea Selby also has a good chance with Evangelist. He won the Quirindi Cup for her a couple of weeks ago. And Justin (Blanch) also has Bob’s A Dazzler too. So the local trainers do have a good chance in a race that will be a good country cup. That’s what we’re all about too. Giving the battlers a good chance without any of the big stables here.”