Gundagai Cup on the ‘mantlepiece’ as Prince of Helena eyes Wagga Cup glory

Fred and Josie Cavallaro and Charlie Favara proudly showing off their Gundagai Cup following Prince of Helena’s win on Sunday. Photo: Weeding Racing.

Craig Weeding will add the Gundagai Cup to his mantlepiece following Prince of Helena’s emphatic victory in the $34,000 feature on Sunday.

Ridden by Jake Duffy, the Wangaratta galloper travelled comfortably in the 1700m event, before exploding to the front on the Gundagai straight, winning by four lengths from the Barbara Joseph, and Matt and Paul Jones-trained Roman (Quayde Krogh) in second, while early leader Momack (Shaun Guymer) for Blake Ryan hung on gamely for third. 

“Country Cups are always brilliant to get,” Weeding told NSW Country and Picnic Racing. 

“They are held in high esteem in the community, and it is another one on the mantlepiece.”

Prince of Helena was well backed into $2.60 favourite, and while Weeding said he had some concerns travelling to Gundagai, the stable was confident their five-year-old would run a good race. 

“We thought he was going to run a really nice race,” Weeding said. 

“I was a little worried about the barrier and where he would get to in the run, but Jake took that out of the equation and rode him beautifully by putting him in a nice position early in a race.

“Jake does almost all of his fast work and he has ridden him a lot at his early starts and he knows the horse quite well.”

Prince of Helena is now guaranteed a start in next month’s $200,000 Wagga Gold Cup, and Weeding believed his galloper would handle the step up to 2000m, having already pencilled in potential races between now and the May 6 feature at Murrumbidgee Turf Club

“We wanted to step him up in trip and see if he could get past the mile, which he did very easy. He did that well today and I expect him to get the 1800m and 2000m.” Weeding said. 

“There is a couple of races for him (before the Wagga Cup). 

“The Kerang Cup is one, but he will probably go to the Murrumbidgee Cup at Wagga and go from there.”

Price of Helena has now started 19 times for five wins and ten placings, and his jockey Jake Duffy believes he will only improve on the effort.

“He was still having a good look about, so I think that is a sign he is a pretty nice horse (and) he was running away from them,” Duffy said. 

The Wangaratta runner handled the trip too, which is impressive considering it was his first time racing past the 1600m journey.

“Although it was only a Gundagai Cup, I honestly reckon there was a fair bit of depth to that race today and for him to put pay to them like that, for a horse that hasn’t had a lot of racing and is still pretty new to the game, it’s a good sign,” Duffy said.

“(It was his) first go beyond a mile too; he handled that really well and travelled really well.”

Duffy just hopes to keep the ride on the Victorian galloper ahead of next month’s rich Wagga Gold Cup. 

“This will qualify him for the Wagga Cup, so it will be interesting to see if he gets the 2000m, which I think he will,” Duffy said.

“I haven’t ridden very light for a while, but he might be the motivation (I need) to get back riding a bit light again, because obviously he will get the minimum in the Wagga Cup.

“Hopefully I can ride him there and pretty much continue a good run with the horse.”

It was a big day for the Gundagai Adelong Race Club, with an eight-race-card keeping racegoers entertained in the cool and damp conditions. 

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