By Geoff Newling
RACE 1: Crimson Sun debuted impressively for Gunnedah trainer Gavin Groth in the first race on today’s Gunnedah Cup meeting. Always well placed by Josh Adams, Crimson Sun rushed home past leader Sebbag to win the H&M Refrigeration GJC Legend Frank Gallen 3YO Maiden Handicap (1200m). Crimson Sun was previously trained by John Thompson but Groth and co-owners Tim Coates and Doug Hall purchased the four-year-old gelding son of Haradasun. “He was having his first start for us today,” Gavin Groth said. “I thought on his trackwork he wouldn’t have won today but he turned out well. He went better than I thought he might. Really pleased with that win.” He raced better than Gavin Groth thought, showing a nice turn of foot to wrap up the debut win in dominant fashion. “He’s a nice horse,” Gavin Groth said. “He hasn’t been working well but on that he can only improve.”
RACE 2: All Political led and fought off all challengers to win at Gunnedah and brighten up owner/trainer George Woodward’s day. Jamie Gibbons rated the three-year-old son of Shrapnel perfectly out front to post a length and half win over the Sally Torrens-trained favourite Whiskey Apple. Torrens’s other runner, Schmizo, was three and three quarter lengths away third in the second race of the Cup meeting – the Omega Feeds GJC Legends Bill “Bot” Thompson Maiden Plate (1400m). Johno Byrne, stable foreman for George Woodward, was delighted with the debut win for the just-turned three-year-old. “George has the flu,” Johno Byrne advised. “He’s crook at home.” All Political was bought and broken in by Woodward and had his first start at Grafton in early July. Today he jumped well and never looked in danger with two-kilo claiming apprentice Jamie Gibbons in control. “He’s ridden a few for us,” Johno Byrne said. “Claims 2kg too, that’s always a plus.” Byrne, 24, has been working for Woodward for five years and enjoys his job which sees him looking after 13 horses at the Walcha stable.
RACE 3: Husonique was having his ninth start this preparation in today’s XXXX Gold Akwazoff Benchmark 49 Handicap and snared his first win of the campaign when he claimed an emotional win. Josh Adams booted the Lesley Jeffriess-trained gelding son of Husson to a third career win when he sooled the gangly chestnut up the rails. Husonique responded well. “I thought they were going too quick,” Josh Adams told Lesley Jeffriess after the win. “I was happy to be where they were and he did show a good turn of foot.” Jeffriess was cheering on two fronts. The first was to win a race after eight previous disappointments this time in and the second was the fact she won a race named in honour of super country Cups horse Akwazoff. Akwazoff won three successive Gunnedah Cups and was trained by Lesley’s father, Merv Corliss. “Dad was coming over but it was too cold for him,” Lesley Jeffriess said. “Husonique won well. Should have won at Warren two starts back. A slow one came back on him and he lost a length and only got beat a half length. He’s no world beater but he goes good.”
RACE 4: Cheljoe made the most of a good gate to win today’s Bective Station GJC Legend John Clift Memorial Class 3 Handicap (1200m). The Grant Prosser-trained Wauchope visitor drew barrier one allowing jockey Peter Graham to gain a perfect sit and sprint to success. It was also a change in fortune for Prosser, who made the long trip across the Great Dividing Range. “We had to scratch one, hurt itself on the float coming across,” Grant Prosser said. “He’s had no luck with the barriers but got a good gate (1) today. When we drew that gate we knew he’d be tough to beat.” Peter Graham has ridden Cheljoe a number of times and said “he’s “not that easy a horse to ride”. He felt sorry for Mollie Partridge, who had ridden him last start and said she got stuck and was unable to get a crack at them.
RACE 5: Avroson might not be real big but the little Scone gelding has a ton of fight and used every ounce of that doggedness to fight back and win today’s $30,000 Hopefuel Gunnedah Cup (1600m). The six-year-old gelding son of Al Maher was headed by the Shane Edmonds-trained Mishani Stealth halfway down the Riverside straight but fought back to post a half head win. It was Avroson’s fourth win in five starts and his second from two starts at Gunnedah. He had won the 1600m Curlewis Cup at Gunnedah back in early July before winning at Grafton during the Clarence River Jockey Club’s July Racing Carnival. 22-year-old jockey Travis Wolfgram rode his first Gunnedah Cup winner with a masterly ride but thought he was in trouble when Mishani Stealth headed him. “I thought he put a neck on me half way down the straight,” Travis Wolfgram admitted. “But he fought hard.” Brett Cavanough also thought he might have been looking at another big “bridesmaid tag” after running four seconds in five races, including a Highway Handicap in Sydney on Saturday over the weekend. However, he also knew Avroson would fight it out. “They went pretty slow early and he usually gets back but was on the pace today. He showed a lot of heart.” Avroson has now won seven of his 35 starts for more than $140,000 in prizemoney for his Melbourne owners. “He’s a real good little country cups horse,” Brett Cavanough added of a gelding who is now headed to the Dubbo Cup.
RACE 6: Subtle Winner was a dominant winner of today’s Oaktree Retirement Village GJC Legend Henry Konz Class 1 Handicap (1400m) at Gunnedah. The seven-year-old mare sat midfield with Josh Adams thinking his opposition might have gone a “bit fast” before extracting the daughter of Casino Prince for her winning run. Michelle Fleming’s Silver Art burst to the front in the straight but Adams and Subtle Winner came around her to set sail for three quarter length victory. Race favourite Ceaseless was a length and half away third. “I thought they went too quick,” Josh Adams told Sky Thoroughbred Racing’s Gary Harley. “He’s a great trainer (Brett Cavanough) and has a good team in form. I had a lot of confidence going out.” It was Adams’ third winner of the day after piloting Crimson Son and Husonique to wins earlier in the day. It was also a running double for Brett Cavanough who won the Gunnedah Cup with Avroson the race before. “She’s been busting for a good track,” Brett Cavanough said of a mare, who has now won two of her 10 starts and was coming off a last start maiden win at Tamworth. ”She’s best when on top of the ground. Just had to get back on top of the ground.” He said she will now go to stud.
RACE 7: Epic Dan might just be the best travelling sprinter in country NSW after a brave win in today’s $22,000 Fuchs Lubricants Lightning Handicap (1000m) at Gunnedah. The Allan Kehoe-trained gelding son of Home On The Grange came again to beat the Brett Cavanough-trained Escebee by a head in the feature sprint. “He went straight past me,” Epic Dan’s jockey Greg Ryan told stable foreman Jarrod McKie. “Put a good head on me.” However, Epic Dan, a five-year-old with seven wins in 22 previous starts, made it eight wins at tracks such as Walcha and Dubbo. He can now add Gunnedah to his winners list and in Jarrod McKie’s eyes is “just a champ”. “It seems the further he goes in a float the better he goes,” McKie added. “He’s awesome, really consistent.”