Groth eyes Picnic Champion Series following Danspur’s Mallawa Cup win

Gavin Groth is preparing recent Mallawa Cup winner Danspur for a tilt at the 2022 NSWPRA Picnic Champion Series. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Gavin Groth and his team enjoyed two bumper days across Friday and Saturday, with the stable preparing three winners and two placegetters from eight starters at Dubbo and Mallawa. 

Racing at Dubbo on Friday, Foreign Brother (Matthew Palmer) won the Winter Country Classic qualifier at Dubbo when taking out the 1310m Benchmark 58 Handicap. 

Racing in the colts and geldings heat, Palmer and Foreign Brothers started well from gate three, leading all the way in the $30,000 race, in turn qualifying for the $32,000 Winter Country Classic final at Dubbo on June 26. 

Then on Saturday, Groth ventured from his Gunnedah base to Mallawa, combining with Nicholas Perrett when landing a double, with Danspur taking out the Mallawa Picnic Cup, while Jazzee Up was too good for his rivals in the 1400m Class B Handicap. 

“It was a good two days,” Groth said. 

“On the Friday, we went out to Dubbo with two, and Foreign Brother won the qualifier and he goes back there for the final in a fortnight and then we went to Mallawa for a second, a third and two wins, which was pretty good.

“It is really a testament to the stable. There is only myself and my wife and two workers and a part-timer and we have got 17 in work, so we are pretty well strapped every day but it was a good job to get a few winners.”

Danspur’s win in the Mallawa Picnic Cup pleased Groth, who has set the eight-year-old for the always popular Golden Triangle.

“We had him set for that Golden Triangle and I was disappointed with how he went in the Boolooroo Cup at Moree when finishing fourth and he probably came up a bit short,” Groth said. 

“He made up for it at Mallawa and hopefully he will run well at Talmoi and then we will look at setting him for a second Wean Cup.”

Despite Danspur’s light frame, Groth isn’t too worried about a weight penalty at Talmoi or Wean either, with the eight-year-old comfortably carrying 65.5kg at Mallawa.

“He would only be 15 (hands), maybe 15.2 (hands) at the most and his weight would be between 430kg and 450kg, so he isn’t a big horse, but he is short and compact and he can carry some weight,” Groth said. 

“I know he won, but I don’t think he will get too much weight for Talmoi. I have noticed in years gone by, they don’t give them too many benchmark points for winning picnic races, so we will enter him and I think a nice round 66gk would be fair.” 

Groth and connections also have one eye on the $50,000 NSW Picnic Racing Association Picnic Champion Series final at Coonamble on October 9.

“He definitely could,” Groth replied when asked if Danspur could win the 2022 NSWPRA Picnic Champion Series. 

“You sort of know in the first couple of runs how he has come back and what his state of mind is like, but he has shown me he is absolutely flying. 

“He has pulled up well after the run, and he came home and ate well and had a bit of R&R (rest and recreation) and he will be back into the swing of things tomorrow (Tuesday).”

The Casino Prince gelding needs to earn more Picnic Champion Series points at Talmoi and Wean to be a chance of qualifying though, and after missing out last year when drawn as an emergency, the Gunnedah trainer will be working hard to get his galloper into the top 12. 

“I really do hope to have him in the final. He got a run last year (as an emergency) but there weren’t enough jockeys because of Covid, but he came out in a $50,000 race on the same day and ran fourth, so he made up for it,” Groth laughed. 

“We still have a bit of work to do. There is a fair few of those western trainers, like Connie Greig, who have got the jump on us. 

“They are racing at Bligh on Saturday and we won’t go there, but we will see how we go at Talmoi and Wean and just go from there.”

Readers can find out more about the NSWPRA Picnic Champion Series, including the most recent points table, by clicking here. 

For more on the Mallawa meeting, readers can click here for results.