Cunnamulla, which is located in the South West of Queensland, is around 750 kilometres from Bedgerabong, but that hasn’t stopped Benno Bowen from making the trip.
The Queensland trainer ‘loaded up the truck’ with five chances and left early on Friday morning, and he will venture through Nyngan to Forbes before staying there tonight and heading to the always-popular Bedgerabong picnic tomorrow.
“We were up at 2(am) and we left at 3(am) and we are just punching through to Nyngan right now,” Bowen told NSW Country and Picnic Racing on Friday.
“We’ll be at Forbes Showground tonight and tomorrow night, and we might head back straight after that, or split the trip up, but I’ll see how the horses pull up and see how they go.”
When asked how long the trip was, Bowen laughed and explained that he was simply taking his time.
“She (the truck) is older than me, she’s an ‘84 for model and we sit on about 80 (kilometres per hour), and that’s fast for her,” Bowen laughed.
“We will cruise along, and we’re not in a hurry.”
Bowen explained that a lack of races up north is why he is venturing into NSW.
“There’s no races up there for me in Queensland at the moment, so we thought we’d come down here for a run,” Bowen said.
“The first race meeting in my country is Blackall later in the month, which is still 500km away, and after that there will be a meeting every couple of weeks.”
Bowen isn’t new to racing in NSW though, and he landed a winning-double at Cobar back in December, with Ice Kitten and Dutton Ranch both winning.
“It was good to get to Cobar, and lately I’ve been to Dalby twice, but for me, I love cruising around, and this is my quiet time for work, and I’m busy in the winter,” Bowen said.
“I just love seeing Australia, and looking at the country side, and what better excuse than racing a couple of horses and trying to get them to pay the way.”
Bowen will have Rock The Box in the 1100m Class Three Trophy, Ice Kitten in the 800m Class B Handicap, Pinnaroo in the 800m Bedgerabong Bracelet, Hard Currency in the 1400m Bedgerabong Cup, and Dutton Ranch in the 1400m Class B Handicap, and believes all five gallopers will be in fine fettle when they arrive in Forbes and race at Bedgerabong tomorrow.
“The travelling doesn’t seem to knock them around too much, and they are fit and healthy, and used to the heat,” Bowen said.
“It’s a lot cooler down this way and in the truck compared to sitting in their stables at home, and we will stop when it gets a bit too hot.”
The Cunnamulla trainer will team up with Todd Bailey, who is searching for his first win in the saddle.
The amateur jockey has started seven times for four seconds, and Bowen hopes he can help Bailey to a breakthrough victory.
“I was talking to Ricky Blewitt about coming down, and he rode a winner for me at Cobar, and I asked him if he could ride, but I only knew I was coming down here a couple of weeks ago and he said he could probably only ride one of them,” Bowen said.
“He came back to me and said Todd Bailey was coming over and he can ride all my horses, and I said no worries.
“Ricky is a good bloke and he’s always looked after me, and I jumped on and saw that Todd had seven starts for four seconds, and hopefully I get him a win and one for myself to help pay for the fuel.”
Bowen just hopes to see each horse put in their best effort, but he believes Dutton Ranch is his best winning chance.
“He has had a bit of time off, and he is looking the best he’s ever looked,” Bowen said.
“He’s the one I’m counting on to bring home the bacon. He’s like a greyhound, and there’s not too much to him, but he keeps getting balloted out in Queensland, and he’s put on a bit of rump, and I think he can run a good race.”
Hard Currency looks a big chance in the Bedgerabong Cup too, and Bowen believes the race will go one of two ways.
“I’d really love Hard Currency to get up, but he is a long time between runs, and he will either win by seven or lose by four,” Bowen laughed.
It shapes to be another big day at Bedgerabong as the NSW picnic racing season kicks into gear.
For full fields click here.