Short back-up doesn’t worry Would Be King in Cootamundra Picnic Cup

Anaelle Gangotena and Would Be King following their win in the Cootamundra Picnic Cup.

Would Be King has made it back-to-back picnic cup victories when taking out the Cootamundra Picnic Cup on Saturday. 

Starting as the $3 favourite in the 1400m feature, the seven-year-old was ridden in behind the pace by amateur hoop Anaelle Gangotena before scrapping the paint when coming home hard and fast on the rails to take out the $6000 event.

“It was a really good ride; a clever ride,” said trainer Doug Gorrel

“They went too quick, and she smoked her pipe, and I even said to Nelly (Gangotena), we should get a soft lead, but they went way too quick, and she was able to get a good run and she was too strong for them.

“She is reading races really well. She is all over it now and she is going great.”

Gorrel believes the result was one of Would Be King’s better victories.

“It was one of his better wins. I reckon at the 150m (marker), he didn’t look like he would win, but they went a bit too fast, and he was too strong.”

Incredibly, the Lethal Force gelding was on the one-day back-up, after finishing a solid fourth in the 1600m Benchmark 60 Handicap at Canberra on Friday. 

“I did actually think it was a winnable race and that’s why I backed him up,” Gorrel said.

“I thought it was his race, but I was happy to by-pass Canberra if we had to, but it was winnable at Canberra if he stood up and he ran a cracking race and finished fourth.

“Then we took him home, and he licked his bin out to the point where we had to give him a second feed, so I thought we would have a look at him Saturday morning, and his vitals were good, and I thought, ‘let’s go’.”

Gorrel isn’t one to rush out and race a horse on back-to-back days either, but he said Would Be King was a tough campaigner, who revelled racing on both Friday and Saturday.

“You have to have the right horse, and he is tough,” Gorrel said.

“They must come through the run well, and Canberra’s tack was terrible on Friday, but he went through it without any problems, and he pulled up great.

“He caused me grief to no end at Coota and pulled me around like a two-year-old and he just wanted to race.”

The Canberra galloper has now won the Grenfell and Cootamundra picnic cups in 2022, and Gorrel said he would likely take Would Be King to Boorowa for a crack at the Boorowa Cup before turning him out and bringing him back for the $50,000 Picnic Champion Series final, which is set to be held at Coonamble on October 9.

“He would be a nice horse in that sort of race (the Picnic Champion Series final),” Gorrel said. 

“He is used to carrying weight, and with the set weights in that race, he gets in good, but he is very close to full TAB quality, and that is the sort of horse that wins that picnic final.”

Gorrel has now won three Cootamundra Cups on the trot, with Southern Gamble winning in 2019, while Keep Me Posted won in 2021, and the stable had a big day out on Saturday, with the Canberra trainer landing a double when Gangotena rode Georgian Court to victory in the 1400m Class Two Trophy Handicap.

Victorian hoop Tim Grace also landed a double, and there was a big crowd on hand, with racing returning to the popular Southern Districts track. 

For full results, readers can click here.