By Geoff Newling
Country chances abound in what appears to be an “even field” for Sunday’s $40,000 McDonalds 2018 Armidale Cup (1900m) following this morning’s barrier draw for the feature race.
Coastal gallopers Backhouse Billy (5), Kasharn (6), Egyptian Ruler (7) and I’ll Miss You (9) have drawn to good effect well while Wauchope gelding, Allzin (14), has a tough ask from outside to get across into a good position.
Sydney visitor Hirokin (Jarrod Austin) drew well in barrier three and his Warwick Farm trainer has booked Chad Lever to ride in a race Armidale Jockey Club secretary Jim Dedes describes as “a very good, even field”.
“It does look a very good, even field,” he repeated. “Just about every one of the 12 runners has a good reason to back them. Kenny Lantry is definitely coming with topweight Egyptian Ruler. He rang and booked a stable to stay the night so he might want to stay and celebrate.” Seven-year-old Egyptian Ruler has won seven of his 47 starts for $223,155, one of those wins being the 2016 Quirindi Cup.
Allzin won last year’s 2100m Mornington Handicap at Tamworth and travelled all over the eastern seaboard with his trainer Graham Hoy chasing six wins from 43 starts and just over $155,000 in prizemoney.
Carry On Jake returns to Armidale chasing back-to-back wins after his decisive win for Glen Innes trainer Paddy Cunningham in last year’s edition. Speaking in the Armidale Express this week he said his six-year-old gelding has been training well, racing without luck and will be suited by the 1900m.
Allan Chau rode him when he was second to Loud Enough in the recent 1400m Inverell Cup and he continues that relationship on Sunday from barrier 10 after the scratching of Lea Selby’s Evangelist: “He does look a good chance again,” Jim Dedes said. “He loves Armidale too. Had five starts here for four wins.”
Carry On Jake is also unbeaten over 1900m at Armidale having won all three 1900m starts.
“Loud Enough is going well too,” Dedes said. “Won the Inverell Cup well for George (Woodward) and he has booked Greg Ryan as well. Greg hasn’t been up our way for a while either.”
Rage Against has to be a chance for Armidale trainer Stirling Osland as well after winning three in succession before a last start eighth to Jack Strikes Back at Port Macquarie.
“Stirling would be disappointed his other horse (Exilia Miss) didn’t get a run though,” Dedes added. “And Lea Selby did scratch Evangelist (Quirindi Cup winner) so that her other horse, Kilmarnock, got a run.”
There will be three Armidale-trained runners in the field of 12 too with Justin Blanch’s Bobs A Dazzler jumping from barrier eight with Geoff Snowden on board.
It will be an emotional day for Snowden. His wife, Janelle, owns a share in the eight-year-old son of Red Dazzler. Geoff won the 2009 Armidale Cup aboard the Keith Hiscox-trained Derivative Receipt.
That gelding was the first local winner since Stafford Wain won the Cup with Prince Miasma in 2002 when wain also trained the runner-up, Redingburgh. Stafford’s son, William, was hoping to run Latitat on Sunday but the gelding looks unlikely of starting after being made fourth emergency.