Groth ready to use “home track” advantage

Gunnedah trainer Gavin Groth is looking forward to the Gunnedah Jockey Club’s Christmas Cup meeting on Saturday and believes he has a couple of winning chances. Photo: Sarsfield Racing Photography.

Gunnedah trainer Gavin Groth has nominated a big team of runners for the annual Christmas Cup meeting at Gunnedah Jockey Club on Saturday, and he believes ‘home track’ will plays it’s part in the stable performing well.  

“Most definitely it will help,” Groth said. 

“As we all know, it’s always good to race on your home track, and It’s just nice to win a race at home, whether it is a feature or not. 

“A home track is always an advantage, which will be good for all of our eight horses we have nominated.”

Groth has Annie’s Street contesting the feature event on the card, the 1600m Christmas Cup, after the six-year-old recently raced at Newcastle in a TAB Highway Handicap.

The Equiano mare is a winner of three races from 21 starts, and greeted the judge first here at Gunnedah back on October 12 over the 1250m journey. 

“She will get a run and she will get every opportunity,” Groth said.

“The only negative is the distance; she has placed once over 1600m for me, which was in her very first preparation for us, but she is probably better suited to racing over a bit shorter distance.”

The stable is confident a quieter ride will give Annie’s Street the best chance of stretching out over a mile and taking out the $22,000 race. 

“If we ride her quietly, she should run a nice race, so we will see how she goes,” Groth said.

Groth said his best chance of a winner on Saturday was Vista Girl, who will likely contest the 1300m Maiden Handicap.  

The four-year-old Zoustar mare is unplaced from nine starts, but has shown glimpses of ability in Victoria, before moving north and finding herself in Groth’s Gunnedah stables. 

“She is second up from a spell and it is her second run for me and I expect her to go well,” Groth said. 

“We drew poorly at Dubbo three weeks ago and we scratched there, and then she went to Quirindi first up, and it wasn’t ideal to go around there for her first up NSW run, but she found the line well.

“Now she is back on her home track, and up in distance, so I expect that she should run a really good race.”

The local trainer, who has seen the worst of impacted clubs due to Covid-19, was happy to see some resemblance of a crowd allowed back at the Gunnedah Jockey Club Christmas Cup meeting on Saturday.  

“I believe they are allowed to have a certain sized crowd there now, so there will be some atmosphere,” Groth said. 

“In years gone by, there have been thousands there, so it’s normally a really big day for the club, so some crowd should be better than nothing.” 

The seven-race Christmas Cup program has been long sold out, and only ticketed patrons will be allowed on course on Saturday. 

Still, an entertaining card that will kick-off at 1:56pm has some of the best Hunter and North West trainers and jockeys in action, which should mean a good day at the races, or watching on at your favourite local watering hole.