By Frances O'Shea
The 2017 edition of the Bengalla Cup will be the highlight on a strong card of racing at Muswellbrook this Sunday. The race has attracted a full field of 14 runners with trainers coming from all over NSW in an attempt to take out the $30,000 feature.
The Kim Waugh-trained Forget looks to be one of the main chances in the race and has consequently been handed a 63kg impost to carry. Waugh has engaged the services of in-form apprentice Jean-Van Overmeire who will take 1.5kg off the eight-year-old gelding.
Forget is previous Group 3 winner and has been recently been racing in a much tougher grade than Sunday’s race. Waugh considers him to be a good chance of taking out the Cup, run over 1280m.
“It tough to find suitable races for these older horses but the Bengalla Cup looks a nice race for him.” she said. “He can be very competitive at this level and winning the race will do his confidence the world of good.”
Another of the chances, the Kylie Gavenlock-trained Randiki, will be ridden by Andrew Gibbons. Randiki was a strong last start winner at Scone carrying 60kg and Gibbons believes that weight relief will greatly benefit his chances.
“It was a good win last start and if he turns up and races as genuine as he did that day, with the added weight relief he should be very competitive.” Gibbons said. “He’s been a hard horse to catch in the past but he has plenty of ability and if the right horse turns up on the day he should run well.”
Allen Denham will saddle up Can I Have in the Cup and believes despite the wide barrier the horse is a good chance.
“It’s unfortunate that he’s drawn out there but he will still go around and I think he will be competitive,” Denham said. “We will hopefully be midfield in the run but I will leave that up to (jockey) Greg Ryan.”
Newcastle trainer Steve Hodge will start his veteran galloper Grand Condor to the Cup in an attempt to capture the nine-year old’s eighth win. The horse has drawn perfectly in barrier one with Serg Lisnyy booked to ride.
“He should be able to get a good run from the barrier and we are hoping he can be competitive with a bit of luck,” Hodge said. “The 1280m is a bit of a query but he’s getting on in age now and should appreciate getting over the extra ground.”
The Bengalla Cup is the feature on a strong seven race card, with the first race at 1.50pm.
SELECTIONS Race 1 - 12:50PM SCHMETZER RACING 3YO MAIDEN PLATE (1000M) 1- Grasslands, 2- Swears Island, 3- Caribbean Song, 4- Retribution Race 2 - 1:30PM WEAR PARTS SERVICES CLASS 1 HANDICAP (1000M) 1- Terra Reign, 2- Glenn Road, 3- Trades Hall, 4- Jazzy Belle Race 3 - 2:10PM MUSWELLBROOK SECRUITY SERVICES MAIDEN PLATE (1750M) 1- Augusta in April, 2- Celebris, 3- Swift Express, 4- Included Race 4 - 2:50PM PEEL VALLEY MACHINERY BENCHMARK 66 HANDICAP (1000M) 1- Musical Query, 2- Gone Viral, 3- Quick Cash, 4- Dynamic Dynasty Race 5 - 3:25PM HITACHI CONSTRUCTION MACHINERY BENCHMARK 55 HANDICAP (1500M) 1- The Iron Maiden, 2- Yambaah Prince, 3- Suggestapartner, 4- Mai Gomeroi Race 6 - 4:04PM BENGALLA CUP (1280M) 1- Forget, 2- Randiki, 3- Anecdote, 4- Grand Condor Race 7 - 4:39PM PIRTEK MUSWELLBROOK CLASS 1 HANDICAP (1280M) 1- Invincible Bot, 2- Prince Dylan, 3- Nic City, 4- Maekit