By Graeme Timbrell
He’s the bold front running eight-year-old gelding that’s found a new lease of life under a young female apprentice from Port Macquarie and while Pippi’s Pride keeps winning his trainer, Stephen Gleeson, can see no reason to change the formula.
“It will be the same rider, same racing pattern and has been the same training routine,” Gleeson said.
“When you have found a winning formula why change it?”
The horse, trainer and apprentice, Cejay Graham, have already won the Denman and Kayuga Cups at Muswellbrook and on Sunday horse and rider will step out again at Muswellbrook and try and add the TAB.COM.AU Sandy Hollow Cup (1450m) to take their record to three straight.
Pippi’s Pride had not won a race since December 15 until Cejay, the leading apprentice for country NSW last season, was put back on.
Pippi's Pride scores at Muswellbrook on October 23
“Cejay is such a balanced rider and she has developed a real understanding of the horse,” the Muswellbrook based Gleeson said.
“I was getting desperate trying to get the horse back into the winner's circle and I thought back to the one other time Cejay rode him when he finished second at Tamworth in July.
“It was such a good ride and the horse responded so well I decided to put her on for the Denman Cup and they won.
“I put her back on for the Kayuga cup and Pippi’s Pride really responded for her.
“He looked beaten at the top of the straight and, in fact, another horse got in front of him but some how Cejay got him going again to score a strong win.
“I would love to think we can make it three from three but it is hard enough to win one or two so I am not getting ahead of myself.
“The horse pulled up well after his last win and I have not done a lot with him.
“That’s the normal pattern and there is no reason to change it.”
Pippi's Pride has drawn ideally in barrier three which should allow him to jump straight to the front and dictate terms.
However, he does go up to 59kg but he is a big, strong horse and Graham’s 1.5kg claim will help.
“He carried 62kg when he ran second in the Gilgandra Cup so I know he can carry weight,” Gleeson said.
The Mudgee trained Iona Nicconi lines up for a return bout with Pippi’s Pride after running second to him in the Kayuga Cup.
The Gayna Williams trained galloper came from sixth and was closing late to be beaten half a length.
Majestic Pedrille, the other Muswellbrook trained runner, has been building up to the Cup distance but has not won beyond 1280m.
However, the Mark Schmetzer trained mare was beaten only slightly more than a length when fourth in a Highway Handicap over 1400m at Randwick last month on a heavy track after coming from seventh at the turn.
1-1.40 HORSEPOWER MAIDEN, 900m: DESTINY’S CHOICE 1, Cash Factor 2, Slimline 3, La Loi 4.
2-2.15 MAGIC MILLIONS 3YO MAIDEN, 1000m: OLD HARBOUR 1, Bubbles Ball 2, Madam Ilithyia 3, Pleasure Bomb 4.
3-2.50 MUSWELLBROOK CUP DAY 29TH MARCH MAIDEN, 1500m: VOYAGES 1, Crowd Surfer 2, Mr Fuji 3, Finucane Missile 4.
4-3.25 ADELAIDE @ COOLMORE CLASS THREE, 1500m: ROY’S COMMAND 1, I Am Awesome 2, I Can Hear Music 3, Winner’s Lane 4.
5-4.00 SAUNDERS MOTOR GROUP BENCHMARK 58, 1280m: CHARSEA’S GIFT 1, Bid’N’Bare 2, Asudem 3, In Good Health 4.
6-4.35 TAB.COM.AU SANDY HOLLOW CUP, 1450m: PIPPI’S PRIDE 1, Iona Nicconi 2, Princess Pattern 3, Miama Dade 4.
7-5.10 GODOLPHIN BENCHMARK 58, 1000m: KEDAH 1, Iamacrumpet 2, Smooth Truth 3, Traumatised 4.
Best Bets: Destiny’s Choice, Voyages.