Good Golly Miss Molly

Wagga apprentice rides treble and wins Hair of the Dog Cup

Molly Bourke guided the Barbara Joseph, Paul and Matt Jones-trained Nieces and Nephews to victory in Saturday’s Hair of the Dog Cup.

It’s hard to miss Molly Bourke’s beaming smile at the races, and the young apprentice had every reason to show off her pearly whites at Gundagai on Saturday when booting home a winning treble, including a gutsy victory on Nieces and Nephews in the 1580m Hair of the Dog Cup. 

Riding for Barbara Joseph, Paul and Matt Jones, Bourke helped the $3.90 favourite to what was a gripping victory from the Ben Blay-trained Nothing’s Sacred (Madeline Owen, $5.50), while just behind them in third place was the Doug Gorrel-trained Would Be King (Nick Heywood, $4.20). 

Jumping from gate seven, the 19-year-old took the Canberra galloper to the front, and despite some pressure from the Andrew Dale-trained Shiny Rock (Billy Owen, $8.50), the Canberra galloper proved too strong to the line. 

“I knew the horse was a good chance, and when the track was playing leader-biased, I knew it suited us perfectly, and my instructions were to get to the fence and don’t give up the lead,” Bourke said. 

Before her Hair of the Dog Cup victory, Bourke teamed up with Craig Widdison in the 1400m Maiden Handicap, winning aboard Monaghan’s Boy ($14).

Again, jumping from gate seven, Bourke went straight to the front on the Wodonga galloper, and the pair proved way too strong for their rivals, beating the Donna Scott-trained Lots of Fiddees (Brendan Ward, $5) by 1.92 lengths, while in third and almost three lengths off the pace was the Barbara Joseph, Paul and Matt Jones-trained Giddy Up Gidleigh (Quayde Krogh, $8.50).

“That win was a bit of a surprise, but Craig did tell me before the race that he had it perfect, and it was its first time over 1400m, but it handled it nicely and won well,” Bourke said. 

The Wagga hoop secured her Gundagai treble in the 1180m Benchmark 58 Handicap, teaming up with Goulburn trainer Mark Gee when winning aboard the well-supported Wilful Spirit ($3.70). 

The pair bounded out of gate three and led from pillar to post when holding off the Kevin Hanley-trained Magic Merv (Coriah Keatings, $14) by 1.23 lengths, while in third was the Barbara Joseph, Paul and Matt Jones-trained Cut To pieces (Quayde Krogh, $7).

“It was a good win and it definitely felt like I had it the whole way. She led comfortably and was on the bit, and coming into the straight, I knew I had a lot of horse under me.”

Bourke is considered by many pundits as a very good front-running apprentice jockey, and she admitted to enjoying the conditions on a firm and fast Gundagai racecourse. 

“That’s one of my favourite ways to ride. I find that on front runners I can settle, judge the horse a lot better, and when we could see it was a leader-biased track, I was quite happy.”

Being Tumbarumba born and bred and Wagga based, it’s no wonder that the Snake Gully Cup and Hair of the Dog Cup two-day carnival is one of Bourke’s favourite events, and she was pleased to have such a successful meeting close to home. 

“It was definitely a big thrill,” Bourke said. 

“I missed out on the first day of the carnival because we had a family wedding, but to come out on the second day and ride three winners was great. 

“Plus, being a local cup, it’s a special race to win.”

Bourke, who moved back to Wagga earlier this year following a short stint in Canberra, has rediscovered her winning-mojo.

The two-kilogram claimer rode her first winner in town last month when helping the Chris Hardy-trained Zakeriz to a win at Canterbury, while she has also brought up victories at Narrandera, Canberra, Wagga, and Goulburn over the past six weeks. 

“I am definitely enjoying living back in Wagga and riding out of there and everything is going really well, Bourke said.”

In a big second day of the Snake Gully Cup carnival, a decent crowd was on hand as seven races were run and won on Saturday.

In the 1000m Maiden Handicap, Mick Travers jumped aboard the Pat Murphy-trained Fifo Filly, and the $1.28 favourite lived up to her short quote, winning by 4.39 lengths from the Joe Cleary-trained Hurricane Coni (Nick Heywood, $15) in second, while almost seven lengths away in third was the Danny Williams-trained Gypsy Romance (Quayde Krogh, $9). 

Nick Heywood went one better in the next race when helping the Adam Duggan-trained I’ll Tell You Now ($1.75) to a good win in the 1000m Class Two Handicap, with the Gosford visitor holding off the Joe Ible-trained Miss Lamar (Quayde Krogh, $4.80) by 0.83 of a length, and 1.08 lengths away in third was the Scott Collings-trained Bleue’s Choice (Billy Owen, $6.50).

Local hoop Billy Owen proved a popular winner in the 1580m Class One/Maiden Handicap, guiding the Andrew Dale-trained Smokin’ Soldier ($7) to victory by 1.15 lengths from the Ron Leemon-trained Buff In Disguise (Nick Heywood, $3.70) in second and the Joe Ible-trained Obverse (Jordan Mallyon, $8) in third. 

At his only ride on the card, Simon Miller rounded out the Snake Gully Cup carnival, winning the 1180m Class One Handicap when aboard the Mitchell Beer-trained Greek Tycoon ($4.20). 

The well-supported Albury galloper, owned by Anthony Manton’s Patriot Bloodstock, beat stablemate Tequila Spirit (Jordan Mallyon, $12) by 3.12 lengths, while in third was the Rob Wellington-trained Altrove (Michael Travers, $2.50). 

For full results from Gundagai’s Hair of the Dog Cup meeting, click here.