Local hopes chase Narrandera Cup success

Last start Wagga winners Molly Bourke and My Solaki will jump from gate one in Sunday’s Narrandera Cup. Photo: Trackpix Racing Photography.

Three locally trained gallopers will line up in the $34,000 Narrandera Cup on Sunday. 

Tumbarumba and Wagga trainer Graham Byatt has the in-form Willybeafactor going around in the 1600m Open Handicap. 

The four-year-old has Bradley Vale on board and has drawn gate six.

Willybeafactor looms as a lightweight chance in the feature race on the day, after recently stringing together three wins at Wagga over the 1200m before a good fourth in a 1300m Open Handicap at Wagga.

Most recently, the Wagga galloper finish third over the 1500m at Albury on Tuesday and he is set for a quick back-up at Narrandera. 

“The owners wanted it more than anything but I am quite happy now, he has pulled up well after Albury and I think he will get the 1600m,” Byatt said. 

Willybeafactor has made a name for himself, with his racing style highlighted by flashing finishes, and with the Narrandera course always bringing out the best of the speedsters up front, Byatt hoped this led to a genuine pace in the cup. 

The Graham Byatt trained Willybeafactor will make the big step up in class for Sunday’s Narrandera Cup. Photo: Trackpix Racing Photography.

“I think it should suit him, sometimes that Narrandera course can have an effect on different horses, but I think he will get through it alright,” Byatt said. 

“They generally run along pretty quick there and if they can inject some pace in the race, it will suit us and we will be flying home.”

Byatt’s galloper has had plenty of racing in recent weeks, starting five times for three victories a third and a fourth since May 29, but the more he starts, the better he seems to go.

“Nothing fazes him, he is a tough little horse, he is a narrow-framed horse and I was surprised that he could handle all the racing,” Byatt said.  

“I gave him yesterday off and worked him this morning (Thursday) and I was surprised how keen he was.”

Gundagai trainer Dave Blundell will hope 2020 Gundagai Cup winner and Narrandera Cup runner up Monkery can go one better on Sunday. Photo: Trackpix Racing Photography.

Fellow Tumbarumba and Wagga trainer George Dimitropoulos will contest the Narrandera Cup with last-start Wagga winner, My Solaki. 

The four-year-old is first emergency but is set to get a start and after drawing gate one, Dimitropoulos said he would get every chance to show his worth. 

“We drew gate 18 in the other race, so we decided to go for the cup,” Dimitropoulos said.

“I guess we will find out how he will go on Sunday. I am not going to say he is up to it and it is a big step up, but you have to test them one time or the other.”

Tumbarumba product, Molly Bourke, will contest the biggest race of her career when jumping into the saddle, and her master explained that instructions would be pretty simple. 

“He likes to be handy and I’m pretty sure Molly will get every chance to take him forward from barrier one,” Dimitropoulos said. 

“We will be up there and it will depend if they can run him down in the last 300m.”

Rounding out the three local chances is 2020 Gundagai Cup winner and Narrandera Cup runner up Monkery, who will be one of the big chances in the 1600m Open Handicap for Gundagai trainer Dave Blundell.

Connections have drawn gate four, and with Amy McLucas on board for the two-kilogram claim, the wily six-year-old will only carry 53kg. 

The winner of five races is a known mudlark, and with the Narrandera course rated a heavy eight and with more rain expected, the old stager is right in this race on his best form. 

The Narrandera Cup meeting shapes as a big day for locals, with eight races and 127 acceptances.