Options on the table for impressive Gundy Guy

Billy Owen on the Todd Smart-trained Gundy Guy.
Image: Bradley Photos.

On Sunday, the Todd Smart-trained Gundy Guy stamped himself as a serious horse at Canberra when winning the 1300m Class Two Handicap. 

Ridden boldly by Billy Owen, the Canberra-based three-year-old jumped midfield but was ridden aggressively to find the front before making every post a winner and triumphing by more than a length.

With it being Canberra Cup/Black Opal Stakes Day, it was a good field, and the Capitalist gelding held off his rivals, which came from the strong Annabel Neasham, Matthew Smith, Keith Dryden, Peter and Paul Snowden, and Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou yards. 

“It was really good to see him win like that, especially when you have high hopes,” Smart told NSW Country and Picnic Racing

“He started the short price, but he was good, and we managed to get a win on Canberra’s million-dollar race day.”

Gundy Guy is named after Smart’s hometown of Gundagai, and the racing gods were at work in Canberra. 

A big group of travelling owners roared in delight as he went past the post and again when Billy Owen returned to the mounting yard. 

“You couldn’t ask for a better result,” Smart said. 

“He’s trained by a Gundagai bloke, ridden by a Gundagai bloke, named Gundy Guy, and the race caller (Anthony Manton) comes from Gundagai.

“I had my son there, my father, and all my close friends, and to win a race on Canberra’s million-dollar race day is something else.”

Sunday’s victory demonstrated the gelding’s versatility, with Smart happy with Owen’s ride.

“With every one of his wins, he’s been ridden differently,” Smart said. 

“He’s got back, raced forward, and now led; he’s so versatile, and we know he can do it from anywhere if he needs to. 

“Billy knows what sort of horse he has underneath him, and he rides most of his work, so I’m happy to let him do his job out there.”

Gundy Guy has now won three on the trot, with his Canberra win following back-to-back victories at Wagga in February. 

Smart is considering his options, which include sending Gundy Guy to the paddock and targeting bigger races later in the year or setting him up for some upcoming feature events. 

The $80,000 Albury Guineas (1400m) at Albury on March 22 would be an age-appropriate option, but a tilt at the $150,000 Southern Wild Card qualifier (1400m) at Goulburn on March 24 could be too hard to pass up. 

With three wins to his name, this could be Gundy Guy’s only shot at the series and a chance to qualify for the $1 million country-restricted final at Royal Randwick on April 6. 

“I don’t want to overtax him this preparation because I think there are bigger things in store next preparation,” Smart said. 

“We’ll see how he is under saddle this week, but I won’t hesitate to put him back in the paddock for a spell.

“If he gives us the indication he has another good race in him this prep, we’ll head towards the Albury Guineas or the Southern Wildcard next week.

“Either way, there is a lot more to come; he’s a big, raw horse, and he’s still got to fill out, so it’s exciting.” 

In other stable news, recent Black Opal Stakes runner Spritzy Lass has been sent to the paddock for a short let-up ahead of the $200,000 Inglis 2YO Challenge at Scone on May 17. 

Stablemate and 2023 Inglis 2YO Challenge winner Love Shuck was sighted at the Goulburn trials on Tuesday when taking out the 800m Open Trial in 46.86 and 33.38 for the final 600m. 

“We’ve got options for Love Shuck, and he might trial again, or we might head to a 1000m Federal at Canberra or the Flat Knacker at Albury.”