Stephen Dixon has ‘sure strategy’ for success in Gunnedah Christmas Cup

The Stephen Dixon-trained Sure Strategy, pictured here winning the Inverell Digger’s Cup last month, will contest the Gunnedah Christmas Cup on Saturday. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Tamworth trainer Stephen Dixon believes his in-form galloper Sure Strategy is ‘every chance’ in Saturday’s Christmas Cup at Gunnedah

The five-year-old is fresh off a good win in the 1800m Diggers Cup at Inverell on November 19, with apprentice jockey Camille Houlgatte guiding the Akeed Mofeed mare to victory.

“That is the race I sort of set her for,” Dixon said.

“I originally come from Inverell and moved to Tamworth 18 years ago, but I always wanted to go back and win the Diggers Cup and Inverell Cup.”

Houlgatte will take the ride again on Saturday, with Sure Strategy dropping back in distance when contesting the 1600m feature, and Dixon couldn’t be happier with his mare, which opened up as the $3.80 favourite to win the $27,000 event.

“She’s pulled up enormous. She hasn’t left a grain of feed in her bin, and she is cherry ripe for tomorrow,” Dixon said. 

“After Inverell, we came home and put her in the paddock for four days and freshened her right up for the mile and she’s done everything right since we brought her back in and she hasn’t missed a bit.

“I think this race might be a little bit harder, but she is just a good little mare and puts in 100% every time, and if she gets a fair run, I think she is every chance.”

While she doesn’t win all that often, Sure Strategy is ultra-consistent, starting 45 times for three wins and 13 placings, earning Dixon almost $100,000 prizemoney in the process.  

“I keep her fresh all the time, and she is a lovely quiet thing; I think the world of her,” Dixon said. 

“I paid $7000 for her, and when she come to me, she had a few hundred (in prizemoney) next to her name, meaning she has picked me up some prizemoney and she has been a good little money-spinner.”

As long as she gets through Gunnedah’s Christmas Cup, Sure Strategy will then take on a feature race at Inverell on New Year’s Day. 

“We will see how she goes tomorrow but I will have her nominated in both the Inverell Cup and there is a (Benchmark) 66 mile on the same program, and we will see how she goes,” Dixon said. 

For the moment, Dixon’s attention is on his mare’s Gunnedah assignment, and it should be an entertaining race day, with the seven-race-program kicking off at 1.34pm. 

Gates open at 11am, and there is a full bar, canteen, TAB, entertainment and fashions on the field.

For full fields click here, and for more on the meeting click here

Tips, trials, and tribulations

Race One: 7 Outta De Lady – $3.40

A speedy type that is drawn to be prominent and he will get a chance to run them along over 1300m.

Race Two: 1 Girragulang – $5.50

Improving type that should be suited to the mile and is well drawn to figure.

Race Three: 14 War On Bling – $4

Another speedy type that is well drawn and from a good yard.

Race Four: 2 Sensational Reward – $12

Making debut for new yard. Trainer knows how to prepare a winner and this galloper is capable first-up. Best value bet.

Race Five: 3 Roussos – $4.80

A galloper with some ability that is well drawn and he looks tough to beat in this very winnable event. Best bet.

Race Six: 3 Tafika – $4.60

Happy to look past her last-start effort in town. Previous to that was a good winner at Muswellbrook. The mile won’t be an issue, well drawn, and from a good yard.

Race Seven: 2 Giftgiver – $2.70

Was ultra-impressive when winning first-up at Coonamble in October. Capable second-up and he looks to be a horse on the up. Second best bet.