Andrew Dale wins third Leeton Cup as Garros reigns supreme

CopRice site manager Chris Hotham presents the CopRice Leeton Cup to Wangaratta trainer Andrew Dale after Garros proved too strong in the 1600m feature race on Saturday. Photo: Leeton Jockey Club.

Wangaratta trainer Andrew Dale has landed another win in the CopRice Leeton Cup (1600m), with Garros proving too good for his rivals on Saturday. 

The ever-consistent eight-year-old started a $5 chance with Josh Richards in the saddle, and he finished strongly to knock off the Martin Stein-trained Cracking Dawn (Cameron Quilty, $8) by 0.14 of a length; early leader and stablemate Vanburg (Coriah Keatings, $3) was 2.09 lengths away in third. 

Dale always believed Garros would hit the line strongly, with Vanburg setting a good pace in the $14,000 event.

“That’s exactly how we thought it would go with Vanburg,” Dale said. 

“He (Vanburg) had a bit of a job to do with 61 (kg), but I gave him a good chance. 

“Still, I thought it would set it up for Garros with Vanburg rolling along, and the plan was to break them open, and if he could hold on, he would, and he still stuck on well for third, and the tempo allowed Garros to run on, and it was a good win.”

Dale is now a three-time winner of the Leeton Cup, with Biding Time (Simon Miller, $6) taking out the feature race in 2016, while in 2021, Namarari (Billy Owen, $6) was an easy victor. 

“Leeton is a good place to race, and the track is always in great condition,” Dale said, 

“It’s been good to us, and for a non-TAB, Country TAB circuit, you couldn’t ask for much more – they should be racing there more often.”

The Victorian landed a winning double at Leeton, with Threetimeslucky (Coriah Keatings, $6.50) taking out the 1050m Class Two Handicap. 

Dale has enjoyed a good 2022/23 of NSW Country Cup racing, with Legal Zou winning the Balranald Cup and Autumn Cup at Berrigan last month, while he has enjoyed success all over the place, trainer winners at Tumut, Tumbarumba, Narrandera, and Corowa to name just a few locations. 

“The season comes to a bit of a close now, but it’s been great,” Dale said. 

“We were a little bit unlucky late last year, with several meetings cancelled in the spring due to the wet weather, and then recently, we lost Tocumwal, Hillston, and Holbrook, and I think altogether, six or seven of those small Country Cups got cancelled, and to still finish up with a good season, and a good meeting at Leeton and a consistent day at Deniliquin on Saturday, that’s really good.”

Dale will venture into NSW again on Saturday, with a big team entered for the Boorowa picnic meeting. 

Both Garros and Vanburg are set to contest the $10,000 Boorowa Picnic Cup (1700m).

For Leeton’s results, click here.