Nick Heywood guides Cavalier Charles to Country Championships wildcard win

Nick Heywood aboard the Matthew Dale-trained Cavalier Charles. Photo: Bradley Photos.

The Matthew Dale-trained Cavalier Charles has won the Country Championships wildcard qualifier at Scone on Sunday, putting away a strong field of contenders in the $50,000 race, while also locking in a spot in the $500,000 Country Championships final at Royal Randwick on April 2. 

Ridden by Nick Heywood, the five-year-old was gifted a beautiful run midfield before finding space and going to the front on the long Scone straight, beating the Cody Morgan-trained Edit (Aaron Bullock) by a length, while a further 0.38 of a length away in third was the Lyle Chandler-trained Banju (Winona Costin). 

Heywood said the race went as planned, with Cavalier Charles a sit and steer job from gate 3, especially once the pair found their position in the running.

“Look, I was pretty confident,” Heywood said. 

“I set out little markers where I wanted to be at that point of the race, and from the 800m, all I had to do was keep him relaxed and he was travelling a long way from home.”

Heywood praised the Canberra galloper, that has now won 5 times from 11 starts, which includes a sensational come from behind victory at Canberra last start.

“Like I’ve said before, he is a pleasure to ride,” Heywood said. 

“I can put him anywhere in the race, and even if he doesn’t win, he tries his guts out for you.”

Dale did well to have the Denman gelding, who finished fourth to Testator Silens in the South East qualifier at Nowra last month, ready for the run after the seven-day turnaround let alone ready to beat some of the best country gallopers in NSW.

“I think Matty Dale does a great job with his horses, and it showed today,” Heywood said.

Heywood is having a 2022 Country Championships to remember, having guided the Gary Colvin-trained Another One to a second consecutive win in the Southern Districts Country Championships qualifier at Wagga last month. 

Heywood also picked up a Scone double on Sunday, after he teamed up with Nathan Doyle to win the 1100m Class Two Handicap on Super Bright. 

Readers can click here for full Scone results.