Albany trainers chase Cup upset
Three Albany gallopers will be out to end an eight-year local drought when they contest Sunday’s $100,000 Wellington & Reeves Albany Cup (2100m) at Percy Spencer Racecourse.
A feature race dominated by invaders over the past 10 years, the Albany Cup has moved this season from the traditional Easter Sunday timeslot to a standalone Sunday but has still attracted a quality field.
Steve Wolfe was the last Albany trainer to taste cup success at his home track in 2011 and he will be one of three trainers hoping to end the visitors’ reign.
Wolfe’s charge Gauged will be joined in the field of 12 by fellow locally trained runners Ready To Fire and Speed ‘N’ Reef as they come up against the likes of Prying Tom, Red Army, The Big Show and He’s A Parker.
Gauged steps up to tackle his first Albany Cup with an ultra-consistent record of seven wins and 10 minor placings from 37 starts to his name.
“He absolutely deserves his chance at a race like this,” Wolfe said.
“He is not top quality but he deserves to win a nice race given how consistent he is.
“I think he’ll improve a fair bit on his last run and he drops 5kg on that, which is pretty significant.”
Jockey Peter Knuckey takes the ride on Gauged, who was a winner over 1900m two starts back, from barrier one.
Gauged is one of eight horses that gets in on the minimum 54kg for the 2019 edition of the race.
Well-travelled gelding Speed ‘N’ Reef ran third in the Kojonup Cup last weekend and will have Peta Edwards aboard as they jump from gate nine.
The other local runner Ready To Fire is prepared by the in-form Roy Rogers yard, having finished eighth to Push To Pass in last year’s cup.
Randy Tan will take the mount on the winner of five of 62 starts, who has been unplaced in five runs this campaign.
Impressive stayer Prying Tom headlines the list of 12 runners, having finished 11th in the Perth Cup in January.
Trainer Sharon Miller, who hasn’t had a runner in the Albany Cup for a couple of decades, said the race looked ideal for her six-year-old gelding.
“The race should suit him and he’s drawn a gate, which helps,” she said.
“He hadn’t had many runs leading into the Perth Cup and he’s happy in the stable so we kept him on.
“He’s been unlucky and Alan (Kennedy) knows him well so I’m hoping he can figure.”
Leading metropolitan trainer Adam Durrant will chase a sixth Albany Cup triumph with his sole runner, American Joy.
Durrant had three runners nominated but will start only American Joy, who has won two of her past three starts and carries 54kg, with Shaun McGruddy engaged.
Five of the past 10 Albany Cup winners have been trained by Durrant, with his last success when Peck won in 2014.
Country cups king Peter Hall will look to add further silverware when he chases a fourth victory in the history of the race, which dates back to 1933.
Hall is riding 60kg top weight Red Army for top trainers Grant and Alana Williams, who will be after their maiden Albany Cup win.
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