By Julieanne Horsman
As a young apprentice jockey in the mid-1980s, Kerry Weir rode in the races Ted Ryder called. Now a trainer, Weir will remember the voice of the Southern Districts this Friday when the gates at Murrumbidgee Turf Club crash back in the $30,000 Ted Ryder Cup.
Tumut-based Weir has nominated his old war horse Bondo for Wagga’s 1660m Summer feature and is confident of a good showing from the seven-year-old if he gets a run. With the Course Proper out of action after a $200,000 drainage upgrade, the meeting has been moved to the Riverside Track and the maximum field reduced to 12. Bondo is currently 13th in ballot order.
“Hopefully he’ll scrape in,” Weir said. “He’s come back from his last spell a different horse.”
Bondo has notched two wins and two places in his last four starts. The Zariz gelding lumped 62kgs on a heavy 8 track to claim 2nd place in a 1400m BM60 race at Gundagai on Snake Gully Cup Day and followed it up with a strong 3rd in the Ted Ryder Cup Prelude over 1660m three weeks later.
“It was a first class run, especially since he’s missed a few due to wash outs,” Weir said. “He came through it well. He’s a tough old horse – goes to the races, comes home, eats up. He never leaves a seed.”
Apprentice jockey Megan Taylor has piloted Bondo to victory four times since February and will again partner him in the Ted Ryder Cup.
“He’s a bit hard to handle but Megan rides him in work and has him sussed now,” Weir said.
“When we got Bondo he was a get back to last and run home horse but this prep we’ve had him go forward and it’s been working. He can’t be allowed to lead though because if he sees daylight he’s off and there’s no stopping him.
“He won’t care if it rains because he handles all conditions from fast to heavy but the track is tight and a bit leader-biased so they key will be ensuring he doesn’t give away a big head start.”
Bondo was transferred to Weir in the middle of last year with the aim of ‘trying to win a couple of country cups’ and he’s exceeded expectations.
“He’s getting better with age,” Weir said.
Weir will also saddle up seven-year-old mare Premier’s Gift who has the same owners as Bondo and is having her first start for the stable. The former Canberra galloper injured herself after placing second in this year’s Cororwa Cup and hasn’t raced since March.
“She spent six months in the paddock and has come right,” he said. “She’s been working the house down so I’m looking forward to seeing her go around on Friday.”
The Ted Ryder Cup was first run in 1987 to honour the late racecaller and Daily Advertiser sports editor who had passed away earlier in the year. Ryder called more than 30 Wagga Gold Cups during his career.