By Julieanne Horsman
Ruthless Agent will carry the local hopes into Sunday’s $30,000 Anniversary Cup at Goulburn Racecourse, which is held to celebrate 18 years since the club moved to its current site.
The lightly raced gelding has been beaten by a whisker in his last two starts but trainer Kurt Goldman thinks a small gear change will make a big difference this weekend.
“He should have won at Kembla Grange but when he got to the front his blinkers prevented him from seeing his ‘mates’ so he slowed down to wait for them,” he said. “We changed the blinkers to visors for his last start and it seemed to do the trick.”
A fortnight ago at Canterbury Ruthless Agent was impressive when he surged home in a 1250m benchmark 68 race, coming off second best in a photo finish with unbeaten Snowden galloper Star Of Africa.
“It was a great run and he’s been unlucky to lose by such small margins,” Goldman said. “Hopefully we can go one better on Sunday.
“He’s drawn a gate and the home track should suit, so as long as he has a bit of luck in running he should be in the finish.
“The only query is the distance. He’s more of a 1200m horse and while he has run well over 1400m, he’s never won at that distance.”
Goldman rates the Barbara Joseph and Paul Jones-trained mare, Melberra Star, as a danger as she was the one who beat him two starts ago. That day she carried 3.5kg less, but on Saturday there will only be 2.5kg difference in the weights. Last year’s Anniversary Cup winner, Chief In Command, will also line up in the race for a crack at back-to-back titles but has only had one start at Nowra after almost 12 months off.
“He’s solid chance and while we love winning races anywhere, winning a feature at your home track is always a big thrill,” Goldman said.
“There’s always great opposition at Goulburn from surrounding areas and Sydney stables.”
Ruthless Agent just missed out on qualifying for this year’s Country Championships, crossing the line fourth in the Goulburn heat. But if he continues to perform, he might get another shot next year.
“He’s still eligible so we might head up to Brisbane then have another throw at the stumps here,” Goldman said.
“Over time we have learned he doesn’t like going beyond 1200m and doesn’t appreciate any give in the track, he likes it nice and firm, so we are doing our best to cater to what suits him.
“We’ve always had a good opinion of him and he is starting to run now as we have always thought he should be running.”
Sunday’s meeting kicks off a huge three weeks for Goulburn with Girls Day Out next Saturday and the $150,000 Goulburn Cup on Sunday 26th.
Entry is $10 for adults, $5 for students, concession card holders and under 18s, $25 for a family of two adults and three kids and under fives are free.
There will be plenty of children’s entertainment including an animal nursery, live band, face painting, mechanical bull and children’s fashions on the field.