Father-daughter duo claim Crookwell’s Funny Hill Cup

Father-daughter duo Mont and Emily Waters, pictured here at Tullibigeal last year, were at it again at Crookwell on Saturday when combining to win the Funny Hill Picnic Cup with Namarari. Photo: Racing Photography.

It was another Waters family affair at Crookwell on Saturday, with plenty of fun had by trainer Mont Waters and his daughter and amateur jockey Emily Waters when they combined to win the 2023 Funny Hill Picnic Cup with Namarari. 

The Tumbarumba galloper started third-favourite in the five-horse field and was taken to the front by Waters, with the pair running the field along at their own pace.

Despite some mid-race pressure, Namarari ($4.40) pulled away for a comfortable 2.35 length victory from the Rob Potter-trained Madison Point (Ricky Blewitt, $1.70), while in third and four lengths back was the Darryl Rolfe-trained Final Showdown (Leandro Ribeiro, $3.20). 

“He drew the outside, jumped, and crossed them and led comfortably,” Mont Waters told NSW Country and Picnic Racing. 

“At the 800m, Ricky realised he was in trouble if he didn’t put pressure on our fella and he went up on his outside, and Em gave him a little squeeze and he burned him off and put the race to bed at about the 400m.” 

It was Emily’s 11th career victory, and the 24-year-old earned praise from her father after the winning ride. 

“It was a 10 out of 10 ride from her yesterday,” Waters said.  

“She is still learning, and she used the whip in her left hand for the first time, and she is getting better with every ride.”

It was a big form turnaround for Namarari, which finished third behind Madison Point in the 1350m Yass Picnic Cup on February 25, and Waters said it came back to his six-year-old finally being fully fit. 

“They took him on at Yass, and the thing that took him on ran last, and he hung on and ran third beaten a length, so it was a good run,” Waters said. 

“It’s a long season and he wasn’t ready for Bedgerabong or Yass, but I thought he was ready at Crookwell, and it worked out that way.”

Namarari is being set for the $50,000 NSW Picnic Champion Series, with the final to be run and won at Coonamble on October 22, and Waters wasn’t rushing the Wandjina gelding. 

“It’s no secret that I’m trying to get him into the final but i said earlier, it’s a long season,” Waters said. 

The Tumbarumba trainer will continue to take advantage of the South East and Southern Districts picnic meetings in the coming weeks, starting with Ardlethan on Saturday. 

“We don’t want to waste those chances, so if he pulls up alright, he will go to Ardlethan,” Waters said. 

“He has clocked up over 2000km in the last month but I’m confident he is sound and right to go.” 

It was a huge crowd at Crookwell, and Waters said it was a pleasant maiden trip to the annual Binda Picnic Races meeting. 

“The crowd was excellent; there was a huge crowd on course,” Waters said. 

“I’ve never been there before, and it’s a funny track, and a bit up and down, but it was a good surface and well grassed. 

“It’s funny, they all said it was a leader’s track, and I witnessed Leandro, Ricky, and Emily on Bella Days all lead five and six lengths into the turn, and they all got run down, so it was pretty fair.”

Blewitt lands Crookwell treble 

Leandro Ribeiro and Ricky Blewitt continued their battle in the 2022/23 NSW picnic jockey’s title race at Crookwell on Saturday. 

After Ribeiro rode five on the card at Tottenham last Saturday, Blewitt fired back and rode a winning-treble at Crookwell’s Binda Picnic Races.

Blewitt won on the Roy McCabe-trained Tequila Shots ($1.90) in the 1000m Maiden; the Ron Weston and John Nisbet-trained Coupla Days ($2.10) in the 1100m Class Two; and the Dean Mirfin-trained Our Blue Moon ($2.80) in the 1300m Class Three.

Ribeiro left with a win too, after he guided the Darryl Rolfe-trained Waldo Waldorf to a strong win in the 1000m Open Trophy sprint.

Breanna Bourke continued her good form when helping Roy McCabe to a training double when winning on Just Ace ($3.20) in the 1300m Maiden.

For all results click here