WAGGA GOLD CUP
MURRUMBIDGEE Turf Club is in the box seat to host one of the strongest Gold Cups on record after nominations exceeded expectations yesterday.
Dual Group One winner Danleigh tops the weights with 63.5 kilograms among 47 nominations for Friday’s $140,000 Listed Wagga Gold Cup (2000m).
Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller nominated five for the race, with entries also from fellow big-name horsemen Peter Snowden, David Hayes, Robert Smerdon, Anthony Cummings, Clarry Conners, Graeme Rogerson and John Thompson.
Murrumbidgee Turf Club chief executive Scott Sanbrook was blown away by the nominations and believes the Cup is shaping up to be the best he has seen.
“I can’t recall so many nominations with such a high standard,” Sanbrook said yesterday. “It’s beyond our expectations, we couldn’t be happier with the standard we’ve got.”
Danleigh, fifth in the Doncaster last start, leads Waller’s team and is joined by overseas imports Class Is Class, Illo, Moriarty and Fulgur.
Danleigh is an unlikely starter due to the 63.5kg with Waller believed to be leaning in different directions with Moriarty and Fulgur.
That leaves Class Is Class and Illo, both owned by former Wagga man Richard Pegum. Among the other high-profile nominees were Peck and Sindarin for Snowden, while Hayes has Whisper Downs, Auld Burns and Rock Robster all nominated.
Classy city winner Single is already a confirmed acceptor with Nathan Berry in the saddle, while Crafty Irna and Scream Machine are all but certain starters.
Last year’s Gold Cup winner Coliseo was also a surprise nominee, given he is due to run in the Group One Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick today.
Wagga is likely to have just the one Gold Cup representative in Devised for Tim Donnelly. Lexical Ambiguity is the next best hope but needs luck. Brendon Avdulla is also the latest Group One-winning jockey to confirm his attendance at the carnival.
Sanbrook said everything was shaping up for a huge two days of racing.
“The nominations are simply exceptional,” Sanbrook said. “To have a number of leading stables supporting to the feature races is wonderful for a country club and to have a Group One performer such as Danleigh among the nomination tops it off. “Across the board is there is a lot of depth in the nominations.”
Meanwhile, nominations have been extended until 11am on Monday for the Jason Motor Group MTC Guineas and the Rules Club Maiden Plate (1200m).
STAR FACTOR: Group One winner Danleigh, for Sydney trainer Chris Waller, headlines the list of 47 nominations for Friday’s $140,000 Wagga Gold Cup (2000m).
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