Deepwater Jockey Club President Doug Stevenson, Vice President John Newsome, and their local syndicate of owners are leaving no stone unturned as they search for a breakthrough Deepwater Cup victory.
Try as they might, they have not been able to land their hometown country cup, but leading into the 2023 edition of the time-honoured race, which will be run and won on Saturday, connections might just have their best chance.
The syndicate purchased last start Glen Innes Cup winner Aytobe.
The seven-year-old, who won at Glen Inness on January 7, was quickly snapped up when put up for sale, and a subsequent move from the Cody Morgan stable to Wayne Oakenfull’s yard means Aytobe will take on Saturday’s $17,000 Deepwater Cup.
“We wanted a horse for the cup, and we spoke about it a couple of months ago, and we looked around to try and buy a horse to have race on the day but it never worked out,” Stevenson said.
“We managed to get Aytobe, and the main purchaser was our vice preside John (Blue) Newsome. Blue works for Elders and he knows Wayne Oakenfull, who will train it now.”
It was Oakenfull that led connections to the purchase of Aytobe, and Stevenson hopes the Bullet Train gelding can deliver a popular win in the 1400m event.
“Wayne let Blue know the horse was coming up for sale, and well we purchased it on Tuesday after its Glen Innes Cup win,” Stevenson said.
“Blue did most of the work, and it’s mainly locals and a couple of Glen Innes fellas in him, but mainly blokes we have had in syndicates before.
“We’ve never won a Deepwater Cup, and it’s something we are trying to do and as we get a bit older, we are wondering if we will ever get to win it.
Connections have had some recent luck at Deepwater, with Shiver Me Timbers winning a 1200m Benchmark 50 Handicap back in 2019, and Stevenson said most of the same owners were now involved in Aytobe.
“That old horse was a good winner a couple of years ago, and we’ve basically all got into this horse,” Stevenson said.
“It’s a bit of fun, and if we were to win, we’d be drinking out of the cup well into Sunday.”
Aytobe, who has drawn the widest of seven runners in the Deepwater Cup, will be up against it when doing battle against well-credentialed stablemates Zaidin and Amazingly.
Still, Jacob Golden gets on board, meaning he will only carry 57kg after the apprentice’s two-kilogram claim, and Stevenson is remaining optimist.
“There is a couple of good horses in it, and we got weighted pretty well with 59kg, but it’s always a hard race to win,” Stevenson said.
“We’ll see how he goes, but either way it will be exciting to have a runner going around.”
It’s shaping to be a big day at Deepwater, and Racing NSW have since given the course proper the tick of approval ahead of Saturday’s six-race not-TAB meeting.
“(Racing NSW steward) Kyle Blanch came up and he gave us a couple of things to do, which we are in the process of sorting out, but he was happy with the track and facilities, and he said we are good to go,” Stevenson said.
“We are still predicted to get some rain, which will be good, and if we can get a bit, and with the predicted weather being 24 degrees, it should be a cracking day.
“Karen (Fontaine) our secretary said there has been a lot of enquires, and the interest in the meeting is just off the map, so we are thinking we will get a big crowd.”
The Deepwater Cup festivities kick off on Friday night, with Deepwater Jockey Cup hosting their calcutta, before racing and fashions on the field take over on Saturday.