Track Watch: Cups fever starts with Narooma Cup

I WISH you all a very happy new year for 2013 and to all our trainers, horses and jockeys may it be successful, safe and injury-free and prosperous for the year ahead.

Last year was a wonderful year for the Moruya Jockey Club with ever-growing attendances at the track from young and old alike, and this year, once again, promises to be bigger and better for all.

While most of us have had our feet up over the holiday period enjoying the festive spirit, our racing participants have been busier than ever with an abundance of meetings across the region.

I’m happy to report that success came our way in these lead-up races to Moruya Jockey Club’s biggest annual meeting, the Narooma Cup meeting, on Monday.

A big welcome goes out to all holiday-makers and visitors to our region, and you’ve all come at the right time to enjoy what is always a fantastic country cups carnival, particularly on the South Coast, over the coming month, which kicks off with a big bang on Monday.

Let’s take a look at what’s happened on the tracks since just before Christmas, where Moruya horses and jockeys have been hard at work while we’ve all been celebrating.

On December 21, a strong contingent of Moruya gallopers stepped out at the Wagga Wagga meeting, where the best results came from Luke Pepper’s Not On Monday, who won the Class 1 (1800m) race, thanks to a perfectly timed ride by Roly Saxton that claimed victory in the very last stride.

Roly has been riding in scintillating form since his return from injury and it’s great to have him back in the saddle.

On December 23, Neil Perryman rode Rod Howes’ Dad’s Cash, from Bodalla, to victory at the Queanbeyan meeting in the Benchmark 53 sprint, where Luke’s Gregory’s Fortress also won, the Benchmark 61 mile, against a very strong field.

Roly and James Geppert also rode at that meeting, and Roly rode at Orange the following day.

On Boxing Day, the non-TAB meeting at the Sapphire Coast was a day to remember for Debi-Lee and Roly Saxton. Debi-Lee has recently taken out her owner-trainer’s licence and Roly rode her first winner, Apocketfulofcash. Congratulations, Debi-Lee.

Roly rode two other winners and a second on the five-event card and John Law’s Four Fortyfour won with Jessie Whipp aboard.

Also on Boxing Day Greg Backhouse’s Waterviews ran second at the Queanbeyan non-TAB meeting.

On December 28 the focus turned to Canberra where Lynda Bundy’s Moorings Capital ran brilliantly to take out the Benchmark 75 feature race (1400m) and Mark Macdonald’s Wilveranj finished a close third in the Maiden sprint.

Neil, Roly and James all rode there, and James rode the next day at Corowa, claiming a close third in one of his rides.

The year ended with several Moruya runners stepping out at the New Year’s Eve meeting at Nowra.

Chicka Pearson’s Flaming Star went across the line in a wall of five horses in the Maiden sprint and was declared fourth after a long consideration of the photo.

John Law’s Bay Prince and Colbey Hill’s Conciliatory both ran well but just missed a place in the Benchmark 55 sprint.

It was back to the Sapphire Coast on Wednesday for the Bega Cup Prelude meeting where Neil Perryman blew away a small field to take out the Class 3 (1400m) aboard Victorian visitor Benambra and Roly rode Mike Gatty’s Rushman to a well-deserved victory in the Maiden sprint, and then claimed a close third on Peter Afflick’s Peekay in the Tathra Cup.

A nose-second in the Bega Cup prelude meant Luke Gregory’s Fortress missed out on automatic entry to the Bega Cup, and James rode Mugga Lane into second for Aaron Clarke in the last.

Full details about the Narooma Cup meeting on Monday appear in Moruya Jockey Club’s advertisement set opposite.

On the strength of the nominations all races should have big fields.

Live coverage will be on the Sky and TVN networks. But wait, there’s more.

Check your guides for next Wednesday’s Warwick Farm meeting where, hopefully, you’ll find John Marzol’s Grey Drama in the mix.

Until next week, good luck and good punting.

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