Weir chasing first Tumut Mile

Kerry Weir hopes recent Adelong Cup winner, Crocodile Cod, can make it back-to-back feature-race wins in Saturday’s Tumut Mile.

Kerry Weir has won a plethora of feature races in the Southern Districts during his years as both a jockey and trainer, with country cups and plates no doubt littering his trophy cabinet.

Still, the Tumut Mile has evaded the local trainer since its inception in 2020, and on Saturday, Weir will prepare three runners in the third edition of the 18,000-feature race at Tumut Turf Club. 

Simon Miller will jump aboard the highly fancied Crocodile Cod that is fresh of winning the Adelong Cup, while apprentice Ruby Haylock is set to guide Billo Road around the Tumut course and Mick Travers will jump aboard local favourite, Foxlike

Weir said it was hard to look past the in-form Crocodile Cod when it came to him picking out his best chance ahead of Saturday’s race. 

“Crocodile Cod on form,” Weir replied when asked the question, which galloper was his best chance of winning the 2022 Tumut Mile? 

“He likes the track; he is race fit and all of the above; everything falls into place for him in this race.”

The front-running son of Cluster proved impossible to pass when holding out Thistledo to win the 1400m Adelong Cup on New Year’s Day, and Weir believed that form would hold up at Tumut. 

“The way he won the other day; the mile won’t be a problem,” Weir said. 

“It was a tough and gritty win and I expect him to run a similar race.”

Billo Road ran third in the Inaugural Tumut Mile in 2020, finishing behind winner High Dude in a race of sensations that saw the Nick Olive-trained Let It Roll break down mid-race, while the Rick Freyer-trained Another Jay Brown lost its rider, Tyler Schiller, in the early stages of the event. 

Saturday’s Tumut Mile could very well be run along at breakneck pace, with the likes of Namarari, Gwennybegg, Rocky High and Would Be King all expected to be contesting the lead alongside Crocodile Cod. 

Weir envisioned a speed battle of sorts, and he explained that if two or three runners were to run the field a long at a solid clip, Billo Road would be flashing at the leaders when it mattered most.

“Like I’ve said to others, if they run a long, he will be coming home, Weir said. 

“He likes Tumut and that is his sort of class. That 1400 and the mile suits him, and it takes a couple of runs for him to get fit, but he is coming along alright at the moment.”

Billo Road finished off strongly to finish fifth in the Adelong, beaten only 4.07 lengths in what was only his second run back from a 30-week spell. 

“He was finishing off the last 50m at Gundagai and was just getting warmed up and Mick Travers rode him and said chuck him straight in a mile race,” Weir said. 

“If the race is run to suit, this could be perfect for him.”

Foxlike also contested the Adelong Cup, but the Foxwedge gelding failed to fire when finishing seventh, beaten 5.97 lengths at the finish. 

Weir said a wet forecast was his veteran’s best chance of registering a surprise result on Saturday.

“I think Foxy can go well, but he needs a bit of rain. He needs that bit of give in the track to be a chance,” Weir said. 

According to Weir, Cooma visitor Gwennybegg for trainer Georgie Boucher looks the horse to beat on recent form.

The six-year-old is coming off back-to-back wins, which includes a massive 11.67 lengths victory in the 1600m Benchmark 50 Handicap at Tumut on Boxing Day before a tough 2.45 lengths victory in the 1800m Benchmark 58 Handicap at Wagga on January 6. 

“The horse to beat has to be Gwennybegg on its form,” Weir said. 

“Teighan Worsnop is riding it and she will let it go and she could be hard to catch.”

The Tumut trainer admitted it would be nice to land his first Tumut Mile winner, although he conceded that local features were never easy to win. 

“They are nice to win, but they are hard to win too,” Weir laughed. 

“They are good fields on Saturday, and there is that much good racing on, so it is good for us locals that have a bit of a chance.”

The Tumut Mile is the feature race on a six-race TAB program that will be broadcast to the world on Sky Racing. 

Readers can turn to pages 16 and 17 of today’s Tumut and Adelong Times for a preview of the meeting, including fields, articles and tips, trials and tribulations.