Kym Davison and Emma Ly combine to win Holbrook Cup

Emma Ly won Saturday’s $15,000 Holbrook Cup on the Kym Davison-trained Daly Heads. Image: Siana Lucas/NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

On Saturday, Holbrook & District Race Club hosted one of the strongest non-TAB Southern Districts Country Cups in recent memory.

The $15,000 event attracted the likes of ten-time winner Chairman’s Choice (Brittany Button, $5), another ten-time winner Force Awakens (Teaghan Martin, $21) eight-time winner Big Day Out (Sarah McDonough, $5), open handicap galloper Loose Love (Billy Owen, $3.50), and Southern Districts warhorse Tough James (Cameron Quilty, $8), and they all missed the placings. 

In a thrilling finish, where threequarters of a length separated the first five horses across the line, the Kym Davison-trained Daly Heads (Emma Ly, $6) triumphed from the Gary Colvin-trained Nic’s Hero (Holly Durnan, $6) in second and the Dan McCarthy-trained Solvere (Tahlia Hope, $5.50) in third. 

“I think it would be one of the strongest (non-TAB) Country Cups in the entire state,” Davison told NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

“There were horses with Benchmark 80s and high 70s, and we got in with 64, meaning we got in good with the weights, and after the claim, he went around with 54kg, which probably made the difference. 

“Others were carrying 60kg, so it was a good result for the stable to see him win.”

It was a timely victory for Ly, who recently moved back to Sydney to be under Gai Waterhouse’s watchful eye. 

“It was the first time Emma had ridden for me, and it was a great result,” Davison said.

“I told her that if I got a chance to pop her on one, I would, and we had the chance at Holbrook. She did everything right and rode the horse brilliantly.”

Ly was made to work for the win, with the saddle slipping mid-race.

“Considering the saddle slipped, it was good she was able to win,” Davison said. 

“He is thin through the barrel, and we had the saddle done up as tight as we could, and it’s never happened before, but the saddle slipped around the 800m, and they went from running fourth or fifth to seven lengths off the leader.

“Still, she was right, and they ended up winning, which was good.”

Daly Heads has been racing well this preparation, progressing from a Benchmark 50 Handicap (1400m) win at Narrandera in August to back-to-back full TAB victories at Albury and Corowa in late October and November.

Earlier this year, the Headwater gelding won the Country Boosted Benchmark 58 Handicap (1600m) at Albury before running third to Tough James in the Tumut Cup in February. 

“He’s at that stage where he is difficult to place,” Davison said. 

“He’s been going well, but that win will probably take him to (a rating of) 68, so he’s not quite Open Handicap, and these races fit in well.”

While he celebrated a Holbrook Cup win, unfortunately, Davison has been forced to retire recent Finley Cup winner Albert’s Melody. 

A five-time winner, earning over $100,000 in prizemoney, the Magic Albert gelding was one of Davison’s favourites around the stable.

The six-year-old took on the President’s Cup but failed to fire in the 1400m Benchmark 45 Handicap.

“It’s disappointing, but we are retiring him,” Davison said.

“Father Time has caught up with him, and he’s just not trying, so we will find him a good home, and he’ll live a life of leisure.”

On a good day’s racing at Holbrook, the Holbrook Bracelet was taken out by the Dani Walker-trained Dustin Dhahran (Jake Duffy, $17), while the President’s Cup went to the Craig Weeding-trained Dark Legacy (Jessica Booth, $4.60).