By Tony Megahey
In the midst of a spectacular season, apprentice Wendy Peel is the jockey to follow at value, attempting a rare feature race double at a booming Gilgandra TAB Cup meeting on Sunday.
And she’s seeking the best advice possible riding the tight and turning Gilgandra track for the first time with three value chances on the annual Gilgandra Cup and Town Plate day.
“I’m planning to give Greg Ryan a ring because I know how many times Greg has won the Gilgandra Cup, how well he rides there and where I need to be,” Wendy explained.
The prolific regional champion will miss a regular Cup day as he’s presently suspended.
Wendy, with 33 winners this season, several doubles and an impressive 15.5% winning strike rate, rides the ‘weight’ galloper Baroque Girl in the $35,000 Gilgandra Sporting Club Cup (1600m) and consistent Lucienne in the $27,000 Gilgandra Newspaper, Bob Foran Memorial Town Plate (1100m).
Wendy gave a dashing on-pace display on Baroque Girl for Moree trainer Peter Sinclair to win a recent Armidale 1900m Open and her productive association with the six-year-old Sebring mare continues after their win in the Inverell Digger’s Cup late November.
“I’ve got three nice rides on the dayB; aroque Girl in the Cup, Lucienne in the Town Plate who was only beaten a whisker last start, and Squared is well placed in the last,” Wendy offered.
Baroque Girl is ideally placed with just 52kg after Wendy’s 2.5kg claim as she carried 54.5 kg for Wendy winning an Armidale Open three weeks ago. And in her recent wins, Baroque Girl has beaten highly-rated country Cups staying mare Exilia Miss.
Wendy, a keen form student, assessed Baroque Girl: “She’s racing super but my only concern is that she’s coming back in distance from 1900m. Still, we’ve got a reasonable draw to work it out and Peter knows this mare so well.
“I do think though Living Choice could be the horse to beat. He's so nicely in with 54kg as he carried 61.5kg when he was narrowly beaten in an easier race at Scone.
"The topweight A Magic Zariz has to carry the 61kg and he’s out to 1600m from a 1300m win. But it is an open race.”
Another concern for Wendy and all the country racing fraternity is the oppressive heat: “It’s been roasting days, it’s so hard when the temperatures are this high.”
Gilgandra will race on a good 3 in typically hot weather.