James Tait out to continue strong family history in Gundagai Cup

Reece Jones will ride the John Thompson-trained Kingston Charm in Sunday’s Gundagai Cup. Image: Bradley Photos.

When Sky Racing’s James Tait calls at Gundagai on Sunday, he’ll have every excuse to get a little more excited than usual in the $36,000 Gundagai Cup. 

Racing the in-form Kingston Charm ($3.50) with John Thompson in the 1800m event, the four-year-old will carry his family’s red silks and white cap and shapes as a major player. 

“With me being the owner, Brad Shields from Cootamundra, and Dominic Neate and Jim Nivison the other owners, it’s going to be a thrill to have a runner in the Gundagai Cup,” Tait told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

The Exosphere mare has been racing in great form this preparation. Two starts ago, she won the 1600m Benchmark 72 Midway Handicap at Royal Randwick. 

Ridden by Reece Jones, it was a thrilling result for connections as Kingston Charm started a 60/1 chance before storming to an impressive win.

Last time out, the Randwick-based galloper finished third to Elettrica in the 1500m Benchmark 72 Midway Handicap at Rosehill Gardens. 

“She’s racing really well,” Tait said. 

“It was fantastic to win at Randwick on Guineas Day, and it was a great thrill for her to win like that and be at the track for it.

“Then she ran really well on Golden Slipper Day, but she will have to cop the trip down (to Gundagai) and step up to 1800m. 

“She is finishing off her races, and there is enough in her pedigree to suggest she can run 1800m.”

The winner of Sunday’s Gundagai Cup is exempt from the ballot for next month’s $200,000 Wagga Gold Cup and Big Dance qualifier, meaning a lot is at stake. 

Kingston Charm has been up for five starts this preparation, so even if she were to win, Tait wasn’t sure the Wagga Gold Cup was in Thompson’s plans. 

“It’s just a thrill to have a runner in it, and it would be fantastic to win it,” Tait said. 

“My father Sandy won it in 2020 with Monkery (trained by David Blundell), and in 1995, Grahame Begg brought down Sweet Hour for the Gundagai Cup. She ran second, beaten by Carvalin, who was a legend around these parts.

“The Wagga Cup is a possibility, but we’ll see how she goes; after talking to John, she may go for a spell after this race; she’s done very well this preparation.”

It is set to be a very strong edition of the Gundagai Cup, with the Tim Donnelly-trained Cliff House ($2.30 into $1.95) the well-supported favourite.

There is also the Peter Morgan-trained Unique Prince (Jason Lyon, $9), the Keith Dryden-trained Offspring (Quayde Krogh, $14), well-fancied emergency Persian Dancer (Mathew Cahill, $15) from the Gary Colvin yard, and Dubbo visitor (Sea Of Flames ($31 into $19) from the Michael Mulholland stable.

Sunday’s eight-race program headlines a big day at Gundagai, which has been marketed as a Family Fun Day. 

Entry is only $10 for adults, while it is free for kids, and there is free kid’s entertainment on the day. 

For more on what is happening, click here