Travers and Galea dance their way to Ardlethan Cup win

Sebastian Galea with the Ardlethan Picnic Cup.

Michael Travers, known for winning the best part of 1000 races as a professional jockey, maintained his excellent form as a trainer at Ardlethan on Saturday.

Preparing Dancing In The Sky for the popular Southern Districts picnic meeting, he teamed up with Sebastian Galea when winning the $10,000 Ardlethan Cup (1600m). 

It was a good ride by the Sydney-based amateur. 

The pair sat just off early leader Bobby’s Secret (Dylan Parrott) before bursting to the front and holding on by a nose from the Darryl Rolfe-trained Final Showdown (Breanna Bourke, $6.50) in second while Bobby’s Secret, two lengths back, hung on for third. 

“He had a lovely ride, and it made all the difference as the leader covered extra ground,” Travers told NSW Country and Picnic Racing. 

“The leader never truly crossed him, and we slipped up the inside when turning for home, then hit the front. 

“The other horse (Final Showdown) ran up to beat us and led, but he (Dancing In The Sky) kicked back at the line to win.”

Fit as a fiddle after recent runs at Tumut, Albury, and Wagga, Travers described Dancing In The Sky’s win as tough. 
“He’s had a fair few runs under his belt, and he’s tough when he wants to be,” Travers said.

“It was a firm track, and those hard and fast places appear to suit him. While he’s not brilliant, he’s tough, and he was tough today.”

It was a full circle moment for the Wagga trainer, who used to ride with Sebastian’s father, Joey Galea. 

“I used to ride with his dad, and I’ve known Sebastian since he was six, and it was good to get a win with him,” Travers said. 

“The plan was to lead, but it was a good ride that made the difference on the day.”

With upcoming picnic meetings at Tullibigeal (March 23), Cootamundra (April 6), and Grenfell (April 13) fast approaching, Travers will consider the 2023/24 NSW Picnic Champion Series for the five-year-old.

“Any winner is a good winner,” Travers said. 

“You’ve got to go where you can be competitive, and that is his mark at the moment. We’ll probably back him up at Tulli (Tullibigeal) next week.” 

On a good day’s racing at Ardlethan, Connie Greig trained a winning treble. 

Teaming up with NSW’s leading amateur jockey, Leandro Ribeiro, the Dubbo stable won with Have Mercy ($2.50) in the 1000m Open Trophy Handicap, Pahang ($2.50) in the 1200m Class Three Trophy Handicap, and Kalpana ($2.60) in the 1600m Class One Trophy Handicap. 

Ribeiro rode four winners on the day, and he combined with Gino D’Altorio when triumphing on Red Paree ($1.95) in the 1200m Maiden Plate. 

Galea scored a winning double, and before taking out the Ardlethan Picnic Cup, he scored a good victory on the Terry Fulwood-trained The Drafter ($2.60) in the 1400m Class B Handicap. 

NSW picnic racing heads to Tullibigeal next Saturday. For the 2024 calendar, click here.

For more on the NSW Picnic Champion Series, click here.