As a picnic jockey, Clint Lundholm was winding down his career in the saddle in 2010 when he won the Bedgerabong Cup, guiding home Nampara Bullet for his grandfather, the late John Lundholm.
On that particular day, Lundholm had four rides and won three races, and as a jockey, it would be his only trip to the Central Districts track.
Five months later, he would finish his riding career at Wean, taking out the Wean Cup on the Geoff O’Brien-trained War On Everything.
A further two years down the track, Lundholm had his first winner as a trainer, with Relentless getting the job done at Dubbo in 2012.
The very next year, he won his first Bedgerabong Cup as a trainer, with Sea Commands (Ashley Boyd) saluting in 2013.
Since then, he’s become a force in the Central and Western Districts, training over 300 winners and taking out the Australian Country Trainer’s Premiership in 2022/23.
On Saturday, Lundholm returned to Bedgerabong and celebrated another memorable victory when securing his second Bedgerabong Cup as a trainer.
Starting Tupou in the $11,000 feature event, popular picnic hoop Ricky Blewitt was in the saddle, and it was undoubtedly the race of the day, with eight starters going around.
Blewitt raced in fourth on Tupou as the Mont Waters-trained Namarari (Emily Harrison, $8) ran the field along.
In a frantic finish to the line, which saw three-quarters-of-a-length separate the first five gallopers, the Dubbo-trained Tupou ($7) found the front and held on, defeating the Connie Greig-trained Linden Tree (Leandro Ribeiro, $5.50) in second and the Rodney Robb-trained Red Impulse (Maddison Wright, $3.20) in third.
Lundholm, who also trained a winner at Gilgandra on Saturday, with Venatic (Ronald Simpson) winning the 800m Class One Handicap, was tickled pink to clinch a third Bedgerabong Cup.
When asked about the win and how it stacked up, he said he was glad to combine with good friends when landing the result.
“For me, riding it was special because I rode it for my grandfather, but training it was good, too,” Lundholm told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.
“I won it with Sea Command when my grandfather retired, but it’s good to win with Ricky and Kylie (Kennedy), as Kylie does a lot of pre-training for me at Narromine, and for Ricky to guide us home made it a pretty special win, too.”
Lundholm loves a day out at Bedgerabong, which he always circles the date on his calendar.
“I try and get there and support the meeting,” he said.
“The committee there does a terrific job; it is one of the best meetings you get to.”
In terms of what’s next for Tupou, Lundholm is setting the six-year-old for the Tottenham Picnic Cup on February 24 and has all intentions of qualifying him for the $50,000 Picnic Champion Series final, which will be held at Coonamble on October 19.
“I bought him as tried horse online, and he was not going terribly but wasn’t getting the wins, so I decided to keep him on and take him to the picnics and hopefully qualify him for the Picnic Champion Series,” he said.
“He’ll probably go to Tottenham and may have a little let-up depending on how he goes, and then we’ll set him on the Champion Series path towards that picnic final at Coonamble in October.”
Battlers get it done at Bedgerabong
The results were shared around at Bedgerabong on Saturday, and in the Bedgerabong Bracelet, Eloise Drews scored the first win of her career when flashing from last to win on Japingka ($9) in the sprint.
In an exciting finish, the pair edged the Connie Greig-trained Billy Bent Ear (Leandro Ribeiro, $4.60) by a nostril, while a half-length back in third was the Clint Lundholm-trained So Extra (Ricky Blewitt, $2.60).
Sebastian Galea (seven wins) moved within one win of Leandro Ribeiro (eight) on the 2023/24 NSW Picnic Jockey’s premiership when winning on the Sharon Jeffries-trained Sauce Dragon ($2) in the 1100m Class Three Trophy Handicap.
The pair won well, beating home the Connie Greig-trained stablemates Blackhill Kitty (Leandro Ribeiro, $3.80) in second and Better Judgement (Grady Spokes, $4.40) in third.
Maddison Wright made a winning return to Bedgerabong, teaming up with her old mentor Rodney Robb when winning on Chart Topper ($6.50) in the 1100m Maiden Plate.
The Nyngan galloper finished three-quarters-of-a-length in front of the Paul Theobald-trained Whirled War (Leandro Ribeiro, $4.60) in second and almost a length-and-a-half ahead of its stablemate Oh No Devon (Michael Gray, $10) in third.
Ricky Blewitt scored a double, and earlier in the program, he teamed up with his better half, Kyle Kennedy, when taking out the 800m Class B Handicap with Warrior’s Spirit ($3).
They beat the Rodney Robb-trained Hammoon Sunshine (Leandro Ribeiro, $2.80) by almost two lengths, while in third and two-and-half-lengths off the speed was the Allan Prisk-trained A Tender lady (Dylan Parrott, $2.80).
In the final event, Tumbarumba visitor Mont Waters combined with Breanna Bourke to win the 1400m Class One Trophy with Moneymademefamous.
Usually, Mont’s daughter and talented picnic jockey Emily Waters would be in the saddle, but she is out injured.
Still, Bourke, who arrived late after missing her ride in the Bedgerabong Cup, stepped up to the plate to win by a long neck from the Connie Greig-trained Pahang (Leandro Ribeiro, $1.80) while in third and two-and-a-half lengths back in third was the Greg O’Neil-trained Are You Certain (Ricky Blewitt, $2.40).
NSW picnic racing action heads to Condobolin on Saturday.
For the 2024 calendar, click here.
For more on the NSW Picnic Champion Series, click here.