Disappointment quickly turned to joy for Tony Newing at Kempsey on Friday when his in-form galloper, Camp Rifle, won the $40,000 Kempsey Cup.
The pair were meant to contest last Friday’s Moree Cup, and after making the long expedition north from their Gosford base, Camp Rifle didn’t race, with the meeting abandoned just two races in.
“It was disappointing at Moree, but it’s how it goes sometimes,” Newing said.
Despite not racing, Newing and many other industry participants tried in vain to get the Moree meeting off the ground, and while the final few races, including the Moree Cup, didn’t proceed, he praised the club for trying their best to race.
“It was amazing the amount of people at Moree that day trying to help. You wouldn’t see it at other places apart from the country,” Newing said.
“People got out to try and fix that and to keep the meeting going. It was amazing and a credit to them.”
Following his Moree disappointment, Newing decided to leave Camp Rifle in the care of Sam McGuren for the week, which proved a master stroke of a decision.
“I must thank Sammy McGuren and her stable. They looked after him for a week for me because I either had to go home with him and not come here, or take the risk and bring him across and leave him away from home for a week,” Newing said.
“She’s aced it, she’s done a great job.”
The five-year-old put his rivals away easily in the $40,000 feature, winning by nearly two-lengths from the Paul Shailer-trained Top Me Up Again in second and Mark Stewart’s Righthere Rightnow in third.
The Gosford trainer said Matthew McGuren proved the difference in the saddle, with the popular hoop reading the race well before riding the Shooting To Win gelding to perfection.
“Matty is an absolutely fantastic rider. He really pulled their pants down there,” Newing said.
“He read the speed map perfectly. I wanted to go back on him, and he said, ‘there is not a lot of speed in this race, we’re probably going to have to tuck in as opposed to go back’ and he got that absolutely perfect.”
Camp Rifle, a five-time winner from 30 starts, is a different horse this preparation, having won the Bowraville Cup four starts back before running good seconds at Wyong and at the Coonamble Showcase meeting.
“It has taken us 18 months to work this horse out, but he is there now and finally having a dig,” Newing said.
McGuren won his second Kempsey Cup aboard Camp Rifle, and he hinted he had finally worked out the little secrets to riding the enigmatic galloper.
“Single Spirit I believe I won on for Ross Stitt (in 2015). I run second here a couple of years before that on his half-brother Youthful Jack, but this horse (Camp Rifle) was good though,” McGuren said.
“He is just a tricky horse. He doesn’t like it in the front, he gets there and pulls up and thinks his job’s over
“The day I won on him at Bowraville, I thought he was really going to put them away that day, and his job was done, so he pulled up, but he won the race.”
McGuren said Camp Rifle probably should have won his last race at Coonamble, and while he was disappointed to miss the Moree Cup, he thought the abandonment was a blessing in disguise for connections.
“Mathew Cahill got off him last start and said if he knew the horse a bit better, he would’ve waited and he wins that race,” McGuren said.
“We were looking forward to coming here today and Tony was happier with the horse coming into today (Friday) than he was last week at Moree.”
McGuren had a day out at Kempsey, booting home three wins on the eight-race Showcase program and full results can be viewed here.