King to reign supreme in Leeton Cup

Anaelle Gangotena and Would Be King following their win in the Cootamundra Picnic Cup. They take on Saturday’s Leeton Cup.

Wagga trainer Doug Gorrel – who brought up his 100th winner at Gundagai last Sunday – will want to continue his excellent run at Leeton today. 

The stable has Country Cup campaigner Would Be King contesting the $14,000 CopRice Leeton Cup (1600m), while Sestina and Exaggerate will line up in the $12,000 Yenda Produce Benchmark 50 (1150m).

Anaelle Gangotena rides Would Be King, and from gate two, connections are confident their eight-year-old can make it career-win number seven at start 58 after scratching him from a tougher race at Canberra on Friday.

“Small fish are sweet,” Gorrell said.  

“I think he is better at that TAB 2 or non-TAB level. 

“He is very close to being a TAB-level horse, but he doesn’t win out of turn, and it’s just a matter of placing him at the best level.

“Anaelle will ride him, and I won’t give her too many instructions, but you’d imagine he will jump to the lead or be right there.

“Others could go forward, and ideally, we can get the box seat, but we’ll see what happens.”

In the sprint, Gorrel believes the draw will play a bit part, with Gangotena riding Sestina while the stable is looking for a jockey for Exaggerate.

“I’m probably leaning towards Sestina from the draw, and I’ve just been told (Richard) Bensley is not going today, so I’m looking for a jockey for Exaggerate,” Gorrel said. 

Gorrel has won the odd race at Leeton and explained what kind of horse you need to win on the Southern Districts track. 

“Well, you do want to be handy and right up there,” Gorrel said. 

“It’s not a long run home, and that last turn is tight, so you need a leader or on-pace horse, and especially in those Country Cups, you must be tough.”

Gorrel did bring up career-win 101 at Wodonga on Friday, with consistent performer Brothers Of Antrim ($9) winning the 1100m Benchmark 64 Handicap at Wodonga. 

“It was great, and that was a nice race for him, especially when it fell away, with a few speed horses scratched,” Gorrel said. 

“Anaelle rode him a treat, and it went exactly how we thought the race would pan out, and she deserved that one. 

“She rides that horse a lot, and they get on well, and it is nice to see her win a race on him.”

Gorrel and Gangotena will now focus on today’s meeting at Leeton. 

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