By Geoff Newling
Gunnedah Jockey Club received 160 nominations for Sunday’s Racing NSW Showcase Gunnedah Cup meeting including 21 for its feature $40,000 Hope Fuel Gunnedah Showcase Cup (1600m).
Warwick Farm gelding Dream Folk is the only metropolitan-trained horse in the field. Greg Hickman, who started his training career at Gunnedah, might bring the chestnut gelding son of Dream Ballad back to Riverside Racecourse on Sunday after running the eight-year-old in last year’s Cup. Dream Folk finished sixth to the Brett Cavanough-trained Avroson in last year’s race.
While Hickman is the only metro trainer entered, Newcastle’s Kris Lees (Kool Vinnie), Ken Lantry (Egyptian Ruler), Darryl Roberts (Bills a Goodie) and Wyong’s Damien Lane (Choice Larga) are Provincial-based trainers with an eye for a Country Cup.
Lees won four races at Muswellbrook on Monday to continue an outstanding strike rate while Lane is also chasing a feature double at Gunnedah on Sunday as he has also nominated The Brown One for the $32,000 MPC Earthmoving GJC Showcase Lightning Handicap (1000m). He isn’t the only one chasing a feature double with Tamworth trainer Cody Morgan also in the hunt for a Cup/Lightning double.
Morgan has Unbiased, runner-up to After All That in the Country Cup at Scone last week, in the Cup and I Am You Are in the Lightning. He is part of a large Tamworth contingent for Sunday’s Cup.
Sue Grills (Star of Legs), Craig Martin (Present Sense), Peter Cleal (Comacina), Colin Dixon (Apache Lad), Mark Hatch (Collins Street), Troy O’Neile (Try ‘N’ Run A Muck) and Mark Mason (Strictly Concert) all hope to have a runner, although Mason has also entered strictly Concert for Saturday’s Moree Picnic Cup at Moree. Moree trainer Nathan Sinclair also has recent Tamworth winner, Rockatorio, a dual nominee for the Moree Picnic cup and Gunnedah Cup.
Armidale trainers Paul Grills (Image Of Love) and Lea Selby have also nominated for the Cup with Selby entering her Quirindi Cup winner Evangelist and Kilmarnock, who won the Christmas Cup in early December at Riverside.
Walcha’s George Woodward has nominated Inverell Cup winner Loud Enough as well and equal benchmark top-rater with Unbiased on 78pts after his last-start win at Kempsey and a third to Exilia Miss in the Guyra Cup. Quirindi trainers Scott Thompson (Exitozo) and Geoff O’Brien (Rena’s Lad) round out the nomination list with Oakey trainer Paula Cartledge (Congelator) adding the only Queensland flavour to this year’s Cup.