By Chris Scholtz
Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller is set to seek a drought-breaking win for metropolitan stables in Sunday’s $80,000 Taree Gold Cup.
A Sydney-based trainer has not won the Taree Cup since 1998 when Stop Flirting, prepared at Rosehill by former jockey Neil Campton, won the 2000m feature.
The Stacks Law Firm Taree Cup is perfectly placed as a lead-up to the coming Wyong and Newcastle Cups and for this reason, has attracted Waller’s interest with the champion trainer nominating five of his in-form gallopers for the race. The winner of the Taree Cup receives ballot exemption for the $160,000 Wyong Gold Cup (2100m) on August 31.
Waller has the choice of starting Quick Defence, Vaucluse Bay, Vassal, Mutarakem or Veladero in the Taree Cup and will finalise his plans after trackwork on Thursday.
Randwick training partners Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have entered the lightly-raced import Mushaireb and Rosehill trainer Richard Freeman has nominated Shalmaneser. Mushaireb won two of his first five starts in the UK and has raced only once in Australia for a promising second over 1600m at Warwick Farm on August 1.
Waller, Waterhouse and Freedman have never previously had starters at a Taree Cup meeting.
There are 28 nominations for the Taree Gold Cup with Newcastle’s Kris Lees, winner of the race twice in the last four years, providing five entries led by his 2016 winner Olympic Academy and last year’s third placegetter Admiral Jello. His other entries are Bochy, Dubaiinstyle and Our Gravano.
Paul Perry, Damien Lane and Tas Morton are other past Taree Cup winning trainers with entries for Sunday’s race. Perry, who won the Taree Cup for the first time in 2015 with Ghost Protocol, has nominated consistent placegetter Don Pellegrino while Wyong-based Damien Lane is hoping All But Gone can repeat his 2017 success with Pirate Ben.
Port Macquarie veteran Tas Morton hopes his entry Mister Smartee can turn the clock back to 1982 when he won the Taree Cup with General Carrington as a youthful novice trainer.
Other entries include South Grafton Cup winner Cogliere, Taree Cup Prelude winner Lady Evelyn and Red Dubawi, a last start Canterbury placegetter trained at Kembla Grange by Kerry Parker. Lady Eveleyn is trained at Newcastle by Jason Deamer, son of the 1979 Taree Cup-winning trainer John Deamer.
The $500,000 XXXX Gold Taree Cup carnival starts on Friday with the feature Hopkins Livermore Cup (1400m) attracting acceptors from Warwick Farm, Kembla Grange, Newcastle, Wyong and Scone. The carnival continues on Saturday with the Taree Cup Calcutta Dinner featuring former Racing NSW chief steward Ray Murrihy and renowned entertainer Paul Martell as special guests.