Veteran trainer Arthur Pace will look to add a Moulamein Cup to the mantlepiece on Saturday, with Hay Cliffy set to contest the $16,000 feature event.
The eight-year-old is a five-time winner and recently won the 1200m Benchmark 58 Handicap at Swan Hill.
Outside of the top two in the weights, which are the Craig Weeding-trained Choice Harvest (Brad Vale, 61kg) and Andrew Dale-trained Bellman (Randy Tan, 58kg), it’s a reasonably even Country Cup, with the remaining six gallopers allotted the 55kg minimum.
Pace believes his Canford Cliffs gelding isn’t without a chance on his best form.
“He is going around as a chance, that’s for sure,” Pace said.
“He is no world-beater, but he tries hard enough, and I just hope he can strike a bit of form on the day and get a win.”
Robert Beattie, who boasts a 22% winning strike rate at Moulamein, jumps aboard for the ride, and Pace is just hoping Hay Cliffy handles the sand track.
“You would think he could go close; he’s got a good jockey, and the big thing is we just need to let him find his feet, settle in the run and let him run his race,” Pace said.
“There is some speed in the race, so if they do run a long, that will be great for him.
“What worries me is that there is a lot of kickback, and he will race midfield.”
The Victorian galloper has won up to 1354m, and Pace said Saturday would confirm if he could run a mile.
“I’m still not convinced he can run a mile,” Pace said.
“He has always shown me he is capable of it in his runs, but he’s yet to do it. Still, he is happy and feeling good, and we’ll know more on Saturday.
A few in-form Victorians will take some beating on Saturday, with Choice Harvest winning the Deniliquin Cup (1400m) in October and the Berrigan Cup (1600m) in November.
Bellman came out at Adaminaby last month and defeated Choice Harvest in a thrilling finish to the Adaminaby Cup (1400m)
“The top weight is the horse to beat; he’s a tough old horse that has been racing well,” Pace said.
The Con Kelly-trained Sunset Eagle has been racing well without winning, finishing second to Branders Rule in the Balranald Spring Cup (1200m) in October before running third to Controversial Miss and Branders Rule in last month’s Hay Cup (1400m).
The Austy Coffey-trained Show Me Champagne will also take some beating, with the five-year-old coming out of stronger Benchmark 70 and 64 races at Mildura, Donald, and Bendigo.
While the Moulamein Cup will take centre stage on Saturday, for Moulamein Racing Club, Saturday’s meeting will have been four years in the making, with the club last racing in 2019 following the impacts of the COVID pandemic and last season’s NSW flood crisis.
Billed as the ‘Back to Moulamein’ race day, the hard-working committee is ready to bounce back when hosting a big crowd.
There will be fashions on the field, with categories for men, women and children.
There will be entertainment, a bar, a canteen, bookmakers, and an excellent six-race non-TAB program.
Racing commences at 1.20 pm, and readers can click here for tickets to the race day.
For fields, click here.