Nick Olive and Ready To Humble eye Snake Gully Cup history

Jeff Penza guided Ready To Humble to victory in the 2021 Snake Gully Cup. Inset: Nick Olive was all smiles when winning his first Snake Gully Cup with Ready To Humble.

The Nick Olive-trained Ready To Humble will look to become just the second horse in history to win back-to-back Snake Gully Cups when contesting the $100,000 feature race at Gundagai Adelong Race Club on Friday. 

The Rubick gelding, which was ridden by Jeff Penza in last year’s edition of the time-honoured race, delivered Olive a long-awaited Snake Gully Cup, and he will look to follow in the footsteps of the Graeme Spackman-trained Via Facile, which is the only horse to win back-to-back cups (2013 and 2014).

“I’d love to win it again. I reckon he is going just as good, if not better than last year,” Olive said. 

“I think he will go well. The draw is going to be fairly important for him, but we will see what happens.”

Ready To Humble subsequently qualified for the $2 million Big Dance following his win in last year’s Snake Gully Cup, and he came out and ran a credible sixth in the final behind the Kris Lees-trained Rustic Steel at Royal Randwick on Melbourne Cup Day. 

“He finished a good sixth and won $40,000 in the final. I was delighted with the run, and we are really proud of him,” Olive said. 

Despite the possible allure of the 2023 Big Dance and the riches associated with the $2 million country cups final, only one city stable has nominated for this year’s Snake Gully Cup, with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott entering Mensa Missile among the 31 horses nominated.  

Olive believes it is a good result for country trainers, with some of the best gallopers in the Southern Districts, South East, Canberra, and Central and Western Districts looking to do battle in this year’s race. 

“I only see one Sydney horse in there, and to be honest, I was a bit shocked by that,” Olive said. 

“It looks a good race, and some of the best country horses in the area are entered, and it looks a good country cup and a good version of the Snake Gully Cup we are all used too.”

It’s no secret that Olive loves travelling to Gundagai for the popular two-day carnival, and nothing will change this year, with the Queanbeyan trainer also entertaining the locally-owned Proud Mia in the Bellette’s Bulk Bins 1000m Snake Gully Flying Handicap, Lady Tabloid in the 1400m TAB Country Magic Benchmark 58 Showcase Handicap and the Elouera Hire Class 1 Showcase Handicap, and Final Comment in the 1400m Toohey’s Extra Dry Maiden Handicap.

“The Snake Gully Cup is one of my favourite races, and it was pretty well-documented that last year was my first win in the race, and I had been trying to win it for a long time,” Olive said. 

“Plus, Marty (Hay) is one of my best friends, and we sponsor the Gundagai (Tigers) rugby league club, and it is definitely one of my favourite places to visit and one of my favourite race days.” 

Coincidently, Marty Hay part-owns Proud Mia, meaning he will be trying to win his own race again with Olive. 

“I think she is getting back to her best form. She is probably getting on a bit now, but since moving to Queanbeyan, it has switched her back on a little bit and she looks a good chance,” Olive said 

It has been a tense time for the Gundagai Adelong Race Club of late, with Gundagai’s racecourse under water last week, but following back-to-back steward’s inspections and good drying weather, Racing NSW have given the green light for the two-day carnival to proceed.

192 gallopers have been nominated for Friday’s program, and readers can click here to view all races, while 159 have been nominated for Saturday’s program, and readers can click here to view all races.

Author’s hoofnote

If Ready To Humble does win the Snake Gully Cup on Friday, he will join the history books alongside the likes of Via Facile, the Keith Dryden-trained Green Waters, which won the race in 1996 and 1999, and of course the Dave Blundell-trained Carvalin.

Carvalin was a legend of the Southern Districts in the late 1990s, and won the race in 1998, while also running two seconds and two thirds during his seven attempts at the race.