Georgina McDonnell outrides country claim and lands history-making second Woop Woop Cup

Georgina McDonnell guided the Jeremy Sylvester-trained Harry and the Duke to victory in the 2021 Woop Woop Cup at Wauchope Jockey Club. The pair won the same race again on Monday. Photo: Trackside Photography.

Georgina McDonnell wrote her name into the history books at Wauchope’s Boxing Day meeting when guiding the Jeremy Sylvester-trained Harry and the Duke to victory in the $15,000 Woop Woop Cup.

In the 50-plus year history of the 1800m country cup, no horse had ever gone back-to-back, and McDonnell was good enough to win on the nine-year-old back in 2021, and she repeated the effort again on Monday. 

“That’s two years in a row now, and someone commented that it’s been going for 50 years and that’s the first time a horse has ever won it twice,” McDonnell said. 

“It’s one of those things that’s really special to me because I actually started out at Wauchope, and last year, all I ever wanted was to win the Woop Woop Cup and winning it two years in a row is pretty exciting.”

Harry and the Duke ($5) led from pillar to post, beating the Colt Prosser-trained Thin Robby (Jasper Franklin, $4) by 0.33 of a length, while in third and 0.58 of a length away in third was the Daniel Simonetta-trained Shades of Frisco (Peter Graham, $2.30).

McDonnell praised her old stager for getting around the tight Wauchope racecourse. 

“He drew well, and he jumped and went straight to the front,” McDonnell said. 

“We got good sectionals, and Wauchope is one of those tracks and horses either handle it or don’t, and he rails like a greyhound around it, and he jumped, railed and won.”

The English-born hoop, who is riding for Nathan Doyle in Newcastle these days, will always have another big reason to remember her second Woop Woop Cup victory, and that is because the 32-year-old also outrode her country claim when bringing up her 80th career winner. 

“Losing your country claim is one of the big goals apprentices set, and to lose it in the Woop Woop Cup made it really exciting,” McDonnell said. 

The apprentice hoop now wants to make her mark at the provincials, and she is setting new goals heading into 2023 and beyond. 

“What I want to do is prove myself in the provincials and being with Nath Doyle should help that,” McDonnell said. 

“I am a lightweight too, and I ride at 51kg, and can take three kilos off 55kg, so the big goal for me is to try and ride out my provincial claim and take it from there.”

McDonell will be action again at Gosford on Saturday before taking her talents to Taree on Tuesday. 

For the Woop Woop Cup results, click here