A big Sydney contingent is targeting Friday’s $150,000 Kristopher Graydon Jewellers Wagga Gold Cup (2000m) with the pack led by trainer Chris Waller.
The stable has two horses entered, Life Less Ordinary and Montauk with the trainer’s racing manager Liam Prior confident: “Montauk is starting to hit his straps and has been set for this race. It was a good run last start with a big weight and he is fit and ready,” he said.
Left: Can history repeat itself with these colours? Craig Newitt celebrates winning the 2014 Wagga Gold Cup on Trade Commissioner for owner Richard Pegum. Image by Steve White
Life Less Ordinary is raced by a big syndicate headed by Richard Pegum who has close ties to Wagga after starting out studying in the city and becoming a successful businessman and racehorse owner. The Cup is always on the radar for Pegum who has won it once previously in 2014 with Waller and Trade Commissioner.
“Richard is a big fan of Wagga and we wanted to make sure we could have a runner in the race for him,” Prior said. “Life Less Ordinary had 3200 metre form in the UK but he has shown enough here for the 2000 metres to run a big race.
“They normally take time to adapt when they come to Australia, but he has picked it up quick. His last run was very good when he got back and ran on well.”
The Waller duo is well fancied with Life Less Ordinary the $3.50 favourite on TAB fixed odds and Montauk a $6 chance. Other Sydneysiders are Stampede ($6), My Psychiatrist ($15) and Danjeu ($26).
In an unusual sequence of racebook numbers, Victorian-trained horses will go out as numbers one to four with Sydneysiders numbers five to nine in a 'State Of Origin' type warm up to the big race. There are also several local contenders.
The Vics are just as buoyant as the Waller camp with trainer Ciaron Maher chasing his first Wagga Cup at his first attempt. Maher has Pemberley ($9.50) ready to explode with Jay Ford gaining the lucky late ride after the galloper’s original rider, Tye Angland, couldn’t make the weight.
“I haven’t had a runner at Wagga before. The race is perfect for Pemberley, he is well weighted and in good form,” Maher said. “The timing of the race is perfect as he is likely to continue on to Queensland for some races.
“One of the owners, Terry Henderson, mentioned the Wagga Cup and it fits in well for him at his second run back. I place my horses where I think they can win. He is ready to run a big race.”
The other Vics are Cool Chap ($8), Jacquinot Bay ($11) and Grey Lion ($15).