If you’ve ever had the pleasure to chat with Georgie Boucher about life in the Snowy Mountains and training racehorses, you’ll quickly learn that she is just another hard-working country girl, who described herself as a ‘postie turned horse trainer on the weekend’ but that’s only when it isn’t snowing.
While her nearest racetrack is Cooma, Boucher is based 30km sound of Jindabyne, and the in-form trainer doesn’t have a huge team in work and is happy to admit she searches for a bargain buy when it suits her stable.
It appears Boucher and connections have found a diamond in the rough, with the sometimes-temperamental mare, Gwennybegg, stringing back-to-back wins together.
Following the six-year-old’s breakthrough 11.67 lengths demolition job for apprentice Teighan Worsnop in the 1600m Benchmark 50 Handicap at Tumut on Boxing Day, the Shamus Award mare, which only cost connections $5000, backed up her good form to win comfortably at Wagga for another apprentice hoop, Molly Bourke, winning by 2.45 lengths in the 1800m Benchmark 58 Handicap on Thursday.
Gwennybegg was always pencilled in for Saturday’s Tumut Mile following her Boxing Day victory, and Boucher explained that their Wagga trip was simply just another run to keep her mare fit – a run that proved very beneficial for the bank balance.
“She needed a run in between the two Tumut meetings,” Boucher said.
“I was looking around for a race for her, and I had Low Altitude In the colts and geldings 1200m maiden at Wagga, so I thought I’d take her for a run.”
Boucher entered Gwennybegg for Wagga confident she would run a bold race, but that confidence quickly evaporated the wetter the Wagga track got last week, with the meeting eventually going ahead on a heavy 10 surface.
“The night before when it was a good four, I thought, ‘yeah, she might go okay; things are good and she is going great’, and then I woke up in the morning and it was no good, and by the time we got there, it was a (heavy) nine and I thought she might struggle.
“Quayde (Krogh) had said she was looking to get on top of the ground, but she handled it and she won really well.”
Gwennybegg is now ripe and ready for Saturday’s Tumut Mile, and while Boucher wasn’t oozing confidence, the Snowy Mountains trainer said her mare was going as good as she could ahead of the $18,000 feature race.
“I’m never confident. Everyone is there for the same reason, and it is a good race,” Boucher said.
“Teighan is back on, and now that we know how she wants to be ridden, it helps a lot and she is finishing off strong, but she likes to be leading and she should be right in it.”
Boucher joked that having a galloper with a high benchmark was new territory for the Jindabyne stable, with connections now looking ahead to other feature races in the South East and Southern Districts.
“Years ago, Short Stay was in the Tumut Cup for us, and it was a stuff up there and really, I’ve never had a horse with a Benchmark 63,” Boucher laughed.
“What do you do with a horse with a 63 Benchmark. Now I am looking at feature races.
“The Bega Cup is another race we are looking at, but this is all new to me.”
For now, Tumut’s TAB meeting awaits, and Boucher took readers through what this week looked like for Gwennybegg.
“Since Thursday, I’ve worked her once and when I say once, I trotted her for 2km off the motorbike,” Boucher said on Monday.
“She might get 4km this evening, she might get ridden, then 4kms and 2km and that’s about it.”
If anything, Gwennybegg will have a relatively cruisy lead-up to Saturday’s meeting, living a life generally reserved for hacks and retired horses.
“She isn’t working hard; she is just out in the paddock,” Boucher explained.
“They can still buck, roll and be horses in their locked-up yard. Their paddocks are the size of town house yards, and they have a shelter they can choose to use.
“The day after their races, they had their rugs taken off so they could roll in the mud, and we fed them, and they ate up when they wanted too.”
Boucher said she would be more nervous than usual when trekking to Tumut on Saturday, with the weight of expectation now on Gwennybegg as she eyes three-straight wins.
“I don’t know if it is exciting or more daunting,” Boucher laughed.
“For me now, because she has won two in a row, the pressure is on, and we aren’t used to that.”
Regardless of how Gwennybegg goes in the Tumut Mile, a bigger 2022/23 season could be on the cards for the talented mare.
“I’ve picked a couple of races out assuming she will go well,” Boucher said.
“The idea when I bought her was to win the Bombala Cup over 1200m, the Adaminaby Cup over 1400m and then the Cooma Cup and that is not out of the question for next season.
“She was a hairy little thing at Tumut when I got her back racing this season, so I will aim to get her back a couple of weeks earlier next season and start the team up in August.”
Boucher looks to have two good chances at Tumut, with Low Altitude knocking on the door of his first career victory ahead of the 1400m Maiden Handicap.
The four-year-old finished a good third at Wagga for Molly Bourke over the 1200m on January 6, and Boucher believed her gelding could win at Tumut, with Bourke again booked for the ride.
“I think he has good chance in that race,” Boucher said.
“The 1000m is too short. He had a good run over the 1400m at Tumut and I think he can run a big race given the right chance.”