Milligan all smiles after claiming Gloucester Cup and winning double

Glen Milligan had every reason to smile after a big day of racing at Taree’s Manning Valley Race Club on Monday. 

Racing on his home track, Milligan teamed up with stable apprentice Zac Wadick, winning the 1000m Class One Handicap with Lion Class ($31) before That’s Molly ($3.60) took out the feature of the program when boulting in for a comfortable victory in the Gloucester Cup (1400m). 

“It’s not a bad day,” Milligan said, 

That’s Molly – a four-year-old mare by Dissident out of Grand Excess – was a cheap purchase as a three-start maiden – and she has performed for the Taree yard, starting a further nine times for three wins, earning $50,000 in prizemoney. 

“She goes all right, that little mare,” Milligan boasted. 

“She was a $7000 Inglis Digital purchase as a maiden, and my best mate owns 10%, and my wife (Vicky Milligan nee Schubert) owns 90%, and she’s won three in 12 months, and it’s been really good.”

That’s Molly was an impressive winner at Taree three starts back when taking out the 1400m Benchmark 58 Handicap before a luckless run in the 1500m Benchmark 58 Handicap at Port Macquarie last month. 

From the decent draw and on the soft track on Monday, Milligan was always confident That’s Molly would be hard to beat in the seven-furlong feature.

“She was a bit stiff not to win at Port (Macquarie) last start, and it wasn’t Zac’s fault; nothing went right on the day, and it was a hard watch,” Milligan said. 

“She brained them the start before, and we thought she’d just win, and she did and made up for the last run.”

Lion Class – a three-year-old gelding by Pluck out of Siandra – could be one to watch going forward, and Milligan believes the high-price winner will only improve on his first-up victory at Taree. 

“We were confident he would run well; the only thing that worried me was that he might have wanted the run first-up,” Milligan said. 

“They ran a long, and he was strong, but he still had a good blow, so there is plenty of improvement to come with him.”

Milligan went agonisingly close to an $18,000-plus payout, with the Taree trainer putting on an all-up with winners Lion Class and That’s Molly and runner-up Bear’s A Star ($14), which finished second in the 1000m Maiden Handicap when beaten just half-a-length. 

“I went there thinking I could get three, and I had a $20 all-up and stood to win $18,000 and bugger me, we got rolled in the first,” Milligan laughed. 

“In the first, we got second, fourth, and fifth, and the two-year-old went close, and he just did a few little things wrong, but he’ll win soon.”

Racing starts to heat up in the Mid-North Coast and Northern Rivers, and it’s timely that Milligan’s yard is beginning to fire, leading into some nice race days.

“Whether we keep the two-year-old )Bear’s A Star) going until then, I don’t know yet, and I’ll let him decide that, but we’ve got some nice horses, and they’ll keep going,” Milligan said. 

“That’s Molly will go to the Scone standalone meeting for the Class Three Mile Highway (Handicap), and we’ll give her a go while we can, and she might not be good enough, but we’ll certainly have a go.”

It was a big day at Taree, and the stable’s star Charmmebaby even enjoyed a solid hit out when trialling over 1000m. 

The six-year-old didn’t disappoint, with the nine-time winner ($558,015) cruising to a comfortable victory. 

“She trialled well, and she’ll go to the (Listed) Takeover Target (Stakes) on Saturday, and she’ll probably get run off her legs (over 1200m) at Gosford, but she’ll have the run and head up to Lawrie Mayfield Smith for a couple of runs before we sell her as a broodmare. 

“She has been a good horse; she’s won over $500,000, and she was only a $14,000 purchase.”

For Taree’s results, click here.