Honeywine proves age is no barrier to win Bedgerabong Cup

Garry Lunn (second from left) prepared Honeywine for victory in Saturday’s 2023 Bedgerabong Cup. Photo: Racing Photography.

The 2023 Bedgerabong Cup didn’t fail to deliver on Saturday.

A good field of eight contested the $11,000 feature event that was run and won over the 1400m journey, and the Garry Lunn-trained Honeywine (Ricky Blewitt, $7) won a thrilling event when edging the Rodney Robb-trained Sons Of Bourke (Michael Gray, $2.70) by just 0.06 of a length, while in third was the Connie Greig-trained Cheeky Nugget (Leandro Ribeiro, $2.60).

Lunn was happy to admit that he got one up on the local bookmakers after securing the ‘bob of the head’ victory. 

“I thought he’d be hard to beat, and I had something on him,” Lunn said. 

“I tipped him to a few blokes too, and one of the bookies bet me $9, and I thought he was a $4 chance, so we left pretty happy.”

Honeywine is a rising 10-year-old, and he has enjoyed a good career, with the Street Cry gelding Originally trained by John O’Shea, even running second to Veladero in the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes in 2016, while he also finished fifth in the Group 1 Champion Stakes, when beaten less than two lengths by Yankee Rose. 

After being moved around a few different stables, Honeywine found a home with Lunn’s Dubbo yard, and he’s since gone on to win races at Dubbo, Muswellbrook, and Narromine before Saturday’s victory at Bedgerabong. 

Lunn said the secret to his old stager’s success came back to spacing his runs and looking after his older joints. 

“He was the best horse in that race, and that’s why he was top weight and he had been racing well without a lot of luck, and he just didn’t handle Parkes the other day,” Lunn said, 

“When those older horses get on a bit of a hard surface, especially those jointy horses, they know and they don’t want to put in, but Ricky Blewitt said the track was the best it has been since he’s been riding there, and it suited the horse.

“It took him the length of the straight to run that one (Sons of Bourke) down, and he bobbed on the line and got it.

“He was running third or fourth, and he never ran around a horse, and it was a 10 out of 10 ride, and the ride won it for my horse on the day.”

Lunn will set Honeywine for the 2023 Picnic Championship, with the stable targeting next month’s picnic meeting at Tottenham before considering future races ahead of the $50,000 final at Coonamble on October 22.

“He’ll go to Tottenham in three weeks’ time, and with him being older and jointy, I’ve just had to change his tactics, and give him two or three weeks between each run,” Lunn said, 

“I’ve been swimming him a lot more, and I texted Ricky this morning to see what he thought of Tottenham, and he has already taken the ride on him.”

Lunn believes Honeywine is one of the early favourites to win the series. 

“He will be very hard to beat against those horses, and he is a class horse, and on his day, he can still hold his own on a full TAB track,” Lunn said. 

“I still ride his work, and know how he feels, and I think he still has a race like that in him, but we’ll see how we go getting him in.”

It was another good day at Bedgerabong, with the meeting quickly growing to be one of the more popular and recognisable meetings on the NSW picnic calendar, and Lunn praised the committee for looking after the trainers on the day. 

“It was definitely worth going out there, that’s for sure,” Lunn said. 

“It was a good day, with a lot of people out there, and the committee and club need congratulating.

“They looked after us and fed us with fresh sandwiches and drinks all day and it means a lot, because if you go to the races in this day and age, you have to buy food, drinks, and when a club looks after you, it’s money saved. 

“Committees at most picnic meetings, that’s how they treat you because they realise without trainers, owners, and horses, they don’t have a good meeting. 

“Jockeys get well looked after, and earn enough money in it, but trainers and strappers deserve good treatment like that.”

In a big day on track, Allan and Bec McRae combined to win the Bedgerabong Bracelet, and for all results, readers can click here.