Hopkins and Heagney combine to win Tumut Cup

Son of Spartacus won the Tumut Cup for trainer Maree Hopkins and jockey Mick Heagney just ahead of the Rodger Waters-trained and the Fiona Sandkuhl-ridden Sizzleonthebridge.

Queanbeyan visitors Maree Hopkins and Michael Heagney have combined to win Saturday’s Tumut Cup, with veteran galloper Son of Spartacus holding on to win the $17,000 feature from Sizzleonthebridge and Hard Core. 

There was drama even before the race, with the start after local hope and the Kerry Weir-trained Crocodile Cod a late-scratching after getting his leg over the barrier. 

Once the 1400m race commenced, the Rodger Waters-trained Sizzleonthebridge ran the race a long at his own pace in front and the Wantabadgery visitor looked the horse to beat on the turn.

Still, the Hopkins-trained Son of Spartacus was game for Heagney, eye-balling Sizzleonthebridge down the Tumut home straight to win by 0.2 of a length, while 2021 Tumut Cup winner Hard Core finished a further 1.37 lengths away in third for trainer Joe Cleary and jockey Nick Heywood. 

Hopkins explained she was never worried with Sizzleonthebridge leading, as she believed her old campaigner would be too strong at the finish.

“No, I wasn’t worried; I was just happy that we got a bit of cover,” Hopkins said.

“As he has got older, he has lost a bit of that gate speed, but he has still retained a really strong finish and he showed that today.”

The 31-start veteran is now a winner of five races and Hopkins explained it was her plan to win a country cup race with him.

“I’ve had him since he was 16 months old. He’s a rising nine-year-old now, and Andrew and Alicia (Sciberras) came into the ownership recently,” Hopkins said. 

“We have enjoyed good success with him. We have had three wins with him, and it was a goal to win a cup with him.”

The eight-year-old was coming off a good second to Hard Core in the Braidwood Cup only a week earlier, and the Spartacus gelding was able to turn the tables on his Moruya rival to win the Tumut feature. 

“This is the first time I have competed for the (Tumut) cup and it’s a nice race to win,” Hopkins said.

“His last run was on a soft seven, but he doesn’t like the wet and he still put everything into it and ran well.

“He is an absolutely honest horse and coming into this, I was hoping for a dry track, as I knew we had a really, really good chance on a dry track, and we got that today. 

“Plus, he has had a start here before and won, so we knew he would go well.”

Hopkins doesn’t know how much racing Son of Spartacus has left in him going forward, but she sure was proud of his efforts at Tumut.

“He has missed out on a bit of luck,” Hopkins said. 

“Last week at Braidwood, he was beaten 0.19 (of a length); in the Griffith Cup he ran third, but he is a fantastic horse to race, and he is so honest and I’m just happy he has won today.”

The Tumut Cup highlighted a strong six-race-card in front of a bumper local crowd that was estimated by the club to be 1200 in size. 

In other results, Shilleagh MeyerVale and Brad Vale combined to win the 1000m Class One Handicap with Mithu leading all the way. 

Victorian visitor Gojazz flashed late to win a terrific three-way finish in the 1200m Benchmark 45 Handicap for trainer Steve Cunningham and jockey Fiona Sandkuhl. 

Richard Butler’s trip from Nowra was worth to while after Simon Miller won aboard Yee Hing Princess in the 1400m Maiden Plate. 

Garry and Teighan Worsnop combined with Tough James for a popular result in the 1400m Class Two Handicap. The consistent gelding led all the way with the apprentice on board.

In the final race, the Doug Gorrel-trained The Chaplain was well supported into favourite and won well for jockey Billy Owen.