Dale and Punch dominate at Deniliquin

Nathan Punch guided the Andrew Dale trained Tabloid Star to victory at Deniliquin Racing Club on Sunday. Photo: Andrew Dale Racing.

Victorian trainer and jockey duo, Andrew Dale and Nathan Punch, dominated the Deniliquin Diggers Cup meeting on Sunday, combining to win three of the five races on the non-TAB program. 

The pair boasted an early double after Wijdaan was too good for Brother Fox and Hey There Presto in the 1000m Maiden Plate, before Diss ‘N’ Dat strolled in for an easy win in the 1400m Maiden Plate ahead of Headman and Kumana.

Dale and Punch would have to wait for the final race of the meeting to get their hat-trick though, with Tabloid Star holding his rivals at bay to win the 1200m Benchmark 50 Handicap, finishing ahead of Smart Style and Riverina Boy.

Dale, who is based in Wangaratta, said the Deniliquin meeting was always in his sights.

“We targeted the meeting yesterday, because it was the last non-TAB in our region for probably the next month,” Dale said. 

“We went there confident, and we targeted those races, because there was Albury today (Monday), Wangaratta on Saturday and with the Wagga God Cup meeting on soon, we thought the meeting would fall away a bit.

“Even though it was two and half hours there, we had a few good chances and we made it worth our while.”

Funnily enough, Dale’s best bet of the meeting went down in the third event, the 1400m Class Two Handicap.

“To be honest, we thought our best chance was Dina’s Boy, and he went down in the third,” Dale laughed. 

Diss ‘N’ Dat was Dale’s best winner, with the three-year-old breaking through at start number 14, and Dale said he was confident of a good showing after a recent third place finish at Leeton.

“Diss ‘N’ Dat was a good run a Leeton over the mile but coming back to 1400m was always a concern and he raced that way a bit, but he was just a little bit too good for them on the day,” Dale said.

Dale praised his winning jockey, Nathan Punch, who he believes is a very good jockey on his day. 

“Nathan Punch is a very underrated rider, he is very good at listening to instructions and on a couple of occasions throughout the non-TAB circuit this year, he has ridden very well for us,” Dale said.

“Every time he rides, he does a fantastic job and we’ll certainly put him on a lot more.”

Dale was also impressed with the Deniliquin Racing Club, who hosted a bumper Anzac Day crowd.  

“That was the first time I’ve been to the Diggers Cup meeting, and it was a pleasant day, they had live music and it looked a good day for everyone,” Dale said.

“The track had a bit of kick back to the eye, and I think it played fairly and it was prepared to the best of their ability.”

Dale and Punch weren’t the only duo to dominate at the meeting, with Corowa trainer, Rick Freyer, and popular Southern Districts hoop, Bradley Vale, combining to win two races, and place in a further two.

Miqyaas was a good winner in the 1400m Class Two Handicap, beating home Recidivist and Magic Ticket, while the pair also won the Deniliquin Diggers Cup with Boogie Woogie, who finished ahead of Tocatchacod and Chase Award in the $12,000 feature event of the program.