High Court has Rod Northam dancing towards $2 million final

Grant Buckley guides the Rod Northam-trained High Court to victory in Sunday’s Wellington Cup. Photo: Racing Photography.

It was a popular country victory in the 2023 Wellington Cup on Sunday, with the Rod Northam-trained High Court proving too good for his rivals in the $100,000 event. 

Given a peach of a ride by Grant Buckley, the Scone galloper ($4.80) was game to the line when holding off the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Far Valour (Winona Costin, $2.90) by 0.61 of a length, while the Terry Croft-trained Just A Brother (Clayton Gallaher, $6) flashed late to finish third when beaten 0.97 of a length. 

High Court is a well-performed galloper, with the Star Witness gelding having started 43 times for 9 wins and 12 placings, earning connections over $400,000 in prizemoney in the process. 

The seven-year-old has only started seven times for Northam and following a second in the 2022 Coonabarabran Cup last preparation, and a third at Royal Randwick and a second at Eagle Farm at his last two starts, High Court finally broke through for the Scone stable on Sunday, and Northam was over the moon. 

“It’s great,” Northam told Sky Thoroughbred Central after the win. 

“I am just relieved for the horse to win a race. He’s just been knocking on the door and a few things have gone wrong a few times in races, but he did the job today – he was super”. 

Buckley can be credited for a terrific ride on High Court, with the pair putting pressure on Costin and For Valour in the early stages of the 1700m race, and despite carrying 62kg, High Court was strongest to the line.

“It’s sort of the opposite to what he has been ridden a little bit,” Northam said. 

“Being Wellington, you have to ride your horse to suit Wellington, and he had to do a bit of work early, but he was strong late, and carrying that big weight – it was a super effort.”

The result means High Court and Four Valour will head to either the $2 million Big Dance or $500,000 Little Dance at Royal Randwick on November 7. 

In the feature race at Wellington on Sunday, the Kristen Buchanan-trained Everlong (Jeff Penza, $9) landed some good bets in the $200,000 Wellington Boot. 

The race for two-year-olds was an action-packed affair, with Everlong holding off the fast-finishing Quasimoto (Grant Buckley, $10) from the Clint Lundholm yard, while in third was the Damien Lane-trained Sparkingly (Jenny Duggan, $14). 

In the $50,000 Wellington Town Plate, the Brett Robb-trained Moetta (Clayton Gallagher, $5.50) chased down and defeated runner-up Washington Towers (Billy Owens, $5.50) from the Todd Smart yard, while in third was the Damien Lane-trained Safado (Jenny Duggan, $14).

Country Cup action heads to Muswellbrook on Friday, with the $150,000 Muswellbrook Cup taking centre stage, while on Saturday, there is the Hillston, Warialda, and Tomingley Cups on what is a bumper weekend of NSW Country and Picnic Racing. 

For all results from Wellington click here.