Imagine, a locally owned and trained horse, not given a chance at all, starting the despised outsider before shocking everyone to win the Gundagai Cup.
Well that is exactly what happened on Sunday, when the Dave Blundell trained Monkery greeted the judge first in the $32,000 feature event, paying a mammoth 126/1 on the NSW TAB fixed odds.
Ridden by Josh Richards, the five-year-old was a conspicuous second last with three furlongs to go, before the Myboycharliue gelding ducked and weaved his way through to storm away with a 1.28 length victory over race-favourite Zoffany’s Lad and fellow roughie, Gentleman Max.
Monkery, who has shown signs of ability in the past, winning five races from 27 starts, had been desperately out of form in the lead up to this race though, with a paltry record that saw him finish 15th, 10th, 8th and 11th in his last four starts.
In a post-race interview, Blundell spoke of a horse that is hard to work out but definitely loves a rain-affected track.
“He’ll (Monkery) make you scratch your head sometimes, but it was a very good win today, the owners will be very happy,” Blundell said.
“Josh (Richards) gave him a perfect ride and rode to instructions. We always thought he was a bit of a chance on his home track and in the wet.”
The wet seems to be the key for the Gundagai runner; a fact Dave Blundell has spruiked about his charge in the past.
“It is kind of the same pattern as last time; he wasn’t going well and then the wet tracks came along and he won three in a row,” Blundell said.
Racing in the red and white colours made famous by Tie the Knot, Monkery is owned by Sandy Tait and Jill Nivison.
Tait was over the moon with the result, and thanked Blundell for a terrific training effort and Richards for a great ride.
“Winning your home cup is quite something really,” Tait said.
“He (Monkery) was in tip top order and ran really well and was trained beautifully by David Blundell and given a fantastic ride by Josh Richards.”
Despite having won some of Australia’s biggest races as an owner, this was Tait’s first Gundagai Cup success.
“Like all wins, it was fantastic, and that’s the joy of racing, when things are going well, it is very exciting,” Tait said.
“This is my first Gundagai Cup, and it was a thrill to win it.”
Tait suggested that Monkery should be in his element going forward, with this time of the year typically throwing up more rain-affected meetings.
“The goal now is to place him and hope for rain,” Tait laughed.
“Dave is an astute trainer and he will no doubt place him in appropriate races this preparation.”