There are few racehorse trainers presently with the winning record of Steve Cunningham who will be out to strike again with Doogans Rise in the Benchmark 60 (2000m) at Wagga on today.
Cunningham is averaging a winner at better than one in every four starters and on that score and the consistent record of Doogans Rise they could again be the combination to beat.
From his past 28 starters, Cunningham has returned eight winners which includes Doogans Destiny at Tumbarumba on Saturday.
A regular at Wagga meetings despite being based at Wangaratta, Cunningham has found the right races for the ability of his horses and has been returning home a winner consistently for three months.
Doogans Rise is well suited to the cup distance, and after being placed at his past three starts at Wagga, is well overdue for another win.
“He will be competitive in that type of grade. He has run home well at his past two runs at Wagga,” Cunningham said. “He isn’t the easiest horse to ride, is highly strung, but he tries hard and will run well.”
Sydney-based apprentice Nick Heywood has ridden most of Cunningham’s recent Wagga winners including Godfrey twice and will have the mount on Doogans Rise. The galloper is owned by Peter Beaton who also races Doogans Destiny.
“He bought the mother in foal and loves the horses. He also owns Outrageous Deal who ran third at Tumbarumba,” he said.
As for his recent run of success which also includes a win at Moonee Valley with Sasayuri, Cunningham said it was his best winning run he could recall.
“It’s as good as I have had. Steel Trigger won in Melbourne about 12 months ago and then Sasayuri the other night and the rest of the horses are all racing consistent,” he added.
Doogans Rise has won four races since Cunningham took over training the gelding. However, he hasn’t won in his past 10 starts since his last win in April last year.
Warwick Farm visitor Veux Winkle won by three lengths in maiden grade at Wagga last start and is rated one of the major chances along with last week’s Leeton winner, Willy White Socks. His stablemate Mr Sommerville is likely to back up after racing at Canberra on Friday.