Darky Blundell chasing Bathurst riches

Gundagai trainer Dave ‘Darky’ Blundell with his ‘The Panorama’ hopeful, Thistledo. Photo: Tumut and Adelong Times.

There isn’t much Gundagai trainer David ‘Darky’ Blundell hasn’t achieved in the racing game over the years, and on Sunday, he will look to add another feature race to his ever-growing list of achievements when setting Thistledo for The Panorama at Bathurst

The 1300m event is worth a tidy $80,000 in prize money and the Gundagai trainer believes he has the horse to give it a real shake.  

“He is working pretty good and with a bit of luck, he should be right in there with a chance,” Blundell said. 

“He has raced against horses with a bit of city class before and he will go alright.”

A full field of 14 runners and four emergencies accepted for the rich race and remarkably, with 60kg on his back – a weight that would normally be considered quite heavy – Thistledo still has eight competitors above him in the weights.

A Magic Zariz, the top weight, has been allotted 63kg along with Hit The Target, Man Of Peace and Peyton Place, while the bottom weight, Pure Fuego, sits well above the minimum of 55kg with 57.5kg.

These heavier weights no doubt highlight the depth and class of the highly anticipated feature country racecand Blundell wasn’t expecting many to scratch. 

“Geez there is some weight,” Blundell laughed.

“There is a bit of money on offer, so I don’t think many will be scratching.”

Thistledo – now a nine-year-old – is lightly raced, winning five times from 26 starts and he will enter the Bathurst race first-up after a 17-week spell. 

“He is nice and fresh. He trialled at Goulburn a couple of weeks ago and he went around nice and comfortable,” Blundell said.  

“Time will tell how he goes but I hope he runs a good race.”

The barrier draw was kind to Blundell, with the Zariz gelding drawing gate five, while the in-form Mathew Cahill is booked to take the ride. 

“It’s a pretty good trip and I’ve been up there a few times in the past,” Blundell said. 

“He will travel up good and Matty knows him, and he has won a race on him, and we should be okay.”

Blundell will take two chances with him to Bathurst with Shafty set to jump from gate 12 in the Hugh Bowman Cup Showcase Maiden Plate over 1400m. 

Cahill is again booked for the ride and Blundell expected a strong showing. 

“He will make a good horse later on,” Blundell said. 

“He will be better suited over a mile, but I think he will go well. He ran well at Narrandera and ran a good race at Wagga, and he should improve.”

It’s shapes as a big day for The Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing Club that will host a well supported eight-race Showcase Program the also includes the $40,000 Bathurst Cup over 1800m.

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