A decade of trying that included some heartbreaking near misses ended with Nick Olive winning an elusive Snake Gully Cup with Ready To Humble at Gundagai Adelong Race Club on Friday.
The Canberra galloper started a $3.70 favourite in the $100,000 event, and the five-year-old began well from the inside gate for jockey Jeff Penza, travelling up on the inside of the Todd Smart-trained Washington Towers, while Peyton Place led the field for Greg Stephens and Molly Bourke.
Turning for home, Penza took Ready To Humble to the outside of the early leader, before pulling away for a comfortable victory from the fast-finishing Upper House for Norm Gardner and Mathew Cahill, while Peyton Place hung on gamely for third for apprentice, Moly Bourke.
Olive highlighted just what winning the Snake Gully Cup meant to him.
“It means a lot. It’s probably been that one race I’ve been trying to win for a long time,” Olive said.
“I’ve had the favourite maybe five times before this and I haven’t been able to get it done but I’m so happy to finally get it done today.”
Along with winning the feature race, Olive and his stable dominated the eight-race-program with Tejori (Jeff Penza) thrashing his rivals to win by 3.52 lengths in the 1180m Class Three Handicap and Sly Song (Brendan Ward) proved too good for his rivals in the 1400m Benchmark 58 Handicap.
“I love coming here. Marty Hay is one of my best mates, and I’m passionate about this town Gundagai and this club,” Olive said.
“I’ve had a lot of support from this town, and it is one of my favourite race meetings and my favourite races.
“It was a cracking day and to leave with three (winners) and the cup, I couldn’t be happier.”
Olive heaped praise on Jeff Penza, who rode the Rubick gelding an absolute treat to win the race.
“It was a great ride, and he made all the difference,” Olive said.
The veteran hoop said he always felt confident he had the right horse during the running of the Snake Gully Cup.
“Once he jumped really well and was travelling as well as he was, I was confident in the horse,” Penza said.
“He wanted to lay in a fair bit. I don’t know if it was the heavy track, but once he got around the leader’s heels, it was all clear sailing from there.”
Gundagai did well to get through the eight-race-program with Penza hinting it was tough going after rain pelted the courses at times throughout the day.
“The track is very heavy, and I think the jockeys have done very well to get around in those races today,” Penza said.
On a good day’s racing, visiting trainers dominated the card and Scott Collings also landed a training treble.
Penza was joined by Matthew Cahill and Amy McLucas in riding a double.