Four of the best as Rodney Robb almost trains Bourke program 

Rodney Robb trained four winners at Bourke on Sunday. Photo: Racing photography.

Nyngan trainer Rodney Robb went half-a-length from training the Back O’ Bourke Picnic program on Sunday, having prepared four of the five winners on the card. 

Teaming up with Breanna Bourke, the pair won the Harry Hart Memorial Bourke Picnic Cup (1600m), with All Words ($3) emerging victorious by 2.7 lengths from the Connie Greig-trained Gossip (Leandro Ribeiro, $3), while in third and 11.74 lengths back was the Benno Bowen-trained Hard Currency (Todd Bailey, $15). 

Bourke, again riding for Robb, booted home Saint Olga ($3) to victory in the 800m Maiden Plate.

It was a cruisy 6.2 lengths win for the pair, with the stablemate Supreme Reality (Leandro Ribeiro, $2.40) finishing in second, and 7.74 lengths back in third was the Allan Prisk-trained Cinders (Tamsin Gough, $11).

Robb also combined with leading picnic hoop Leandro Ribeiro for a winning double. 

Their first win was with Centre Circle ($2.80) in the 1000m Class B Handicap, which defeated the Jane Clement-trained Yes Kurt (Ricky Blewitt, $3) by 2.62 lengths, while in third and 6.22 lengths back was the Garry Bignell-trained Kooky Kangaroo (Wayne Wheatley, $3). 

Ribeiro had his second victory in the fifth and final race on the program. He won the 1300m Class B Handicap on Sindagar ($2.10), with the pair just edging the Greg O’Neill-trained Outback Cod (Breanna Bourke, $8) by 0.29 of a length, while in third and 2.6 lengths back was the Jane Clement-trained Borlotti (Ricky Blewitt, $6). 

Stopping Robb from training a perfect card at Bourke was good friend Alan Prisk and young hoop Tamsin Gough, who would end up in the winner’s circle, with the pair taking out the 800m Open Trophy sprint with My Pointer ($3.50).

Half a length behind them was the Rodney Robb-trained Addictions (Breanna Bourke, $3), while in third and 2.47 lengths off the pace was the Connie Greig-trained Yorker (Leandro Ribeiro, $3). 

Robb, who only has eight horses in work these days, was thrilled with the result. 

“It was very good, and it doesn’t often happen,” Robb laughed. 

“I don’t have as many in work these days, but I still love training, and we sent six to the races, and four of them won, so that’s a good day.”

Funnily enough, Robb did not go to Bourke, as he was busy with his family at the annual Easter Sunday Hermidale Gymkhana. 

“I didn’t go; I sent my strapper up there because I was involved in our gymkhana at Hermidale, about 45kms west of Nyngan,” Robb said. 

“There were about 80 horses, and I first started going to it when I was 11, and I was 68 on my last birthday. 

“I had six grandkids who rode there yesterday, and I said to Wendy (Robb), I know I should be at the races, but I could not miss it.”

Still, Robb’s win in the 2023 Bourke Picnic Cup means back-to-back victories in the feature race and his third in recent years, with other gallopers like Rusty Motorbike (Maddy Wright, 2019) and Knee Slapper (Emily Waters, 2022) also getting the job done. 

“I’ve had a lot of luck at the country tracks, but Bourke has been one of my favourite tracks to race at, and we’ve had a fair bit of luck there,” Robb said. 

“It’s the best track in the west, it gives every horse a chance, and it’s got the big 380m straight.”

All Words had to carry the grandstand to win Sunday’s $12,000 feature race at Bourke, with the five-year-old lumped with 75kg before racing to victory.

Robb was never worried about the weight, declaring his galloper the horse to beat in the lead-up to the race. 

“I spoke to a really good mate of mine from Bourke, and they rang me on Saturday when they were having their calcutta, and I said to him, ‘I think he will be very hard to beat’, and he said, ‘what about the 75kg’, and I told him not to worry about it,” Robb said. 

Robb praised Bourke for the good rides on All Words and Saint Olga, and he is predicting the Southern Districts’ hoop to get better and better.

“I like Breanna, and the more confidence she gets, the better rider she will become,” Robb said. 

“She’s definitely got the ability, but she hasn’t backed herself enough, and I had a good yarn with her at Tomingley, and the more she rides, the better she will get.

For All Words, that will likely be his last race at the picnics due to his high benchmark, and Robb will now set the seven-time winner for his hometown Nyngan Cup on April 25. 

“That’s probably his swansong at the picnics,” Robb said. 

“If I stepped him out at another picnic cup, he’d have to carry 77kg, so he will probably go to the Nyngan Cup on Anzac Day, but he will still get 65kg.”

It was another big Easter Sunday of racing at Bourke, and for full results, click here.