Michael Mulholland will look to add yet another country cup to the trophy cabinet at Narromine on Sunday with Reward Seeker set to contest the $39,000 Narromine Gold Cup.
The Wellington trainer won the event in 2020 with The Sledgehammer, and after Reward Seeker finished a good second behind From The Bush in the Forbes Cup only two weeks ago, Mulholland believed his seven-year-old was ready and raring for Sunday’s feature race.
“He will be in pretty good order,” Mulholland said.
“He is most probably looking for a bit further, so we freshened him up just a bit this week and if he is close enough, he will be good enough.”
From The Bush held off the fast-finishing Reward Seeker at Forbes, and Mulholland admitted the Gayna Williams galloper would be the horse to beat, but he didn’t believe the five-year-old Bathurst galloper would have it all his own way this time around.
“It’s a pretty similar field to Forbes and From The Bush will be the one to beat again but Mackellar’s Love will be right up there,” Mulholland said.
“We are hoping they put a bit of pressure on each other and put a bit of pace into the race.
“The track is going to be firmer, and the front runners will keep running, which will suit us.’
A three-kilogram weight turnaround will favour Reward Seeker and Jake Pracey-Holmes will again be in the saddle.
“We missed out on Forbes; if I get 59kg, he wins the Forbes Cup. We are back at 61kg this week but the horse that beat me goes up three kilos,” Mulholland said.
On paper, the 2021 Narromine Cup looks to be one of the strongest Country Cups in recent memory, and Mulholland explained you needed a ‘tough’ horse to win the 1600m event.
“You need a tough horse, they have to be tough because there is a bit of pace in the race, but you need to finish off,” Mulholland said.
Reward Seeker looks well suited to this race, having won both the Orange and Wellington Cups during his 17-start career, but despite his credentials, there will be a lot of interest in other runners in this year’s Narromine Gold Cup.
The Gayna Williams’ trained From The Bush will likely start favourite, and deservedly so after a good win in town followed by a strong victory in the Forbes Cup.
The Cheryl Crockett trained Mackellar’s love is coming off a good second at Narromine after a strong win at Muswellbrook in March and a third in the Gooree Cup at Mudgee in May.
The Bryan Dixon prepared Pacodali is having his first NSW start and the Group 3 winning galloper will no doubt draw attention after being allocated a mammoth 65.5kg in the event.
The nine-year-old was at the centre of a controversial online sale that saw him finish up with the Gilgandra trainer after being sold for $10,000.
Will Freedman’s Nomoathaj was also a popular elect at Forbes before finishing eighth but is a likely improver third up this preperation.
Toulon Brook can’t be ignored either, with the Kody Nestor runner flashing late to finish third at Forbes and from gate two, the Dubbo runner could be a big chance with a little luck.
The first race at Narromine jumps at 11.55am and full fields can be viewed here.