Bob Milligan eyes back-to-back country cups with Texas Storm

The Bob Milligan-trained Texas Storm, pictured here winning the 2021 South Grafton Cup, will be one of the major players in Sunday’s Wauchope Cup.

The Bob Milligan-trained Texas Storm will be aiming for back-to-back feature race wins on Sunday in the Wauchope Cup, which will be run and won at Port Macquarie Race Club

Texas Storm came out and won the Wingham Cup at Taree on June 9, with the seven-year-old proving too strong in the 1600m $29,000 feature race. 

Winning jockey Zac Wadick will again take the ride and Bob Milligan’s son, Glen Milligan, believes the All American gelding is a live chance in the $40,000 race. 

“Coming back to 1500m doesn’t suit him but Zac will have him in the first four or five and they will make their own luck,” Milligan said. 

“If he starts pulling and they slacken the speed, he can go forward on him, so we have a few options.”

“The horse ran for him the other day, and I don’t see why it can’t be the same in the Wauchope Cup. If Zac gives him a good ride, I think we are a good each-way chance for sure.”

Milligan said connections were eyeing another tilt at the $80,000 South Grafton Cup on July 10 after taking out the feature race in 2021, indicating that a strong showing in the Wauchope Cup will likely see him feature at the Grafton carnival. 

“If he goes well in the Wauchope Cup, the owners want to send him to Grafton. He won the race there last year in July and they are talking about running him in the South Grafton Cup again this year,” Milligan said. 

Milligan believes Texas Storm has improved with age, and he hopes to see the seven-time winner get out over more ground this preparation. 

“He is looking for further, and I think he is going to get 2000m,” Milligan said. 

“I think he is a better horse than last year, but he is a bit more dour. Before he had a bit more dash but now, he is dour and just gets through his work.”

For the time being, the Wauchope Cup is the main focus, and the Taree galloper has drawn gate 11 in the field of 14. 

Milligan doesn’t believe the wide draw will be an issue though, and he backed Wadick to get the job done from the tricky barrier. 

“It suits him better being out wide,” Milligan said, 

“When he gets cluttered up amongst them, he can sometimes do a bit wrong, but out wide he can do his own thing.”

“Zac sat there three wide on him the other day at Taree and that was his instructions, and credit to him, because he rode him well. He made it a more genuine 1600m race and it suited him.”

In a big day of racing at Port Macquarie, Sunday’s eight-race Wauchope Cup meeting has been upgraded to Showcase Status, meaning each race carries a minimum of $30,000 in prizemoney. 

The 1000m Wauchope Sprint is the second of the features on the program and readers can click here for full fields