Tamworth trainer Troy O’Neile was not beating around the bush when discussing Beckford’s chances in Saturday’s Inverell Cup.
“He is hard to look past and I think he is as good a chance of any in the race,” O’Neile said.
“He will step back from the mile to 1400m, which could be a risk, but he is a classy enough horse to overcome it.”
O’Neile has the four-year-old – which is a seven-time winner from 20 starts – absolutely flying this preparation, winning three times from four starts.
The Not A Single Doubt gelding kicked off his preparation following a 15-week spell, winning first-up at Armidale in a 1300m Open Handicap on November 7.
Following a ninth placing at Rosehill, Beckford won the 1600m Open Handicap at Tamworth on November 20 before backing up to win the Armidale Cup, run over the 1600m journey at Tamworth on December 12.
On Saturday, the in-form Tamworth galloper has drawn gate one, and with Maddy Owen on board for the two-kilogram claim, he will only have to carry 59kg.
O’Neile, who won the 2019 Inverell Cup with Try ‘N’ Run A Muck, believed Beckford would handle the sometimes tricky racecourse when having his first start there.
“I think if you have a horse that is capable, it can win and i really think he is the right kind of horse,” O’Neile said.
“I’ve won a couple of Inverell Cups and anyone can win. Leaders and back markers are all a chance if they are good enough.”
The New Year’s Day $45,000 feature race headlines an Inverell Jockey Club Showcase meeting carrying $255,000 in prizemoney, and O’Neile said feature country racing was integral to the longevity of the careers of country cup horses such as Beckford.
“In these races, he is open company and I can claim off him and still be down to a reasonable weight and he is not carrying the house,” O’Neile said.
“It’s imporant for country racing that those country horses get a chance and it’s great for the community.
“They are genuine country races too with a lot of country horses racing for good money.”
O’Neile is eyeing success in both features on the eight-race Inverell program, with Cassy’s Sister taking on the time-honoured Inverell Shorts.
Mikayla Weir will take the ride in the 1050m Open Handicap and the five-year-old has drawn perfectly with gate one.
The Excelebration mare has been a picture of consistency for the Tamworth stable this preparation, finishing third to Superior Witness in the Tamworth Gold Rush back in August before a good second to Undeniable at Wyong in September.
In the Tamworth Spring Cup in September, Cassy’s Sister finished second to Edit, before running fourth in an Open Handicap at Port Macquarie in November.
Most recently, the talented sprinter finished second to Ice In Vancouver in the Armidale Newmarket Handicap held at Tamworth on December 12.
“She just stays up and runs well for us,” O’Neile said.
“We’ve worked out how to train her. After each run, she might have a week to 10 days at home and then starts back up again
“She would have to be one of the most consistent sprinters in country NSW and she looks well placed on Saturday.”
O’Neile believes he has three winning chances on the Inverell program, with Onemorechoice building towards a victory in the 1600m Benchmark 66 Handicap.
The five-year-old has raced twice this preparation, finishing third at Tamworth over 1400m when first-up from a seven-week freshen up before finishing a strong second in the 1600m Benchmark 66 at Tamworth late last month.
“I like my chances with a couple of them. Cassy’s Sister will go good and Onemorechoice looks suited,” O’Neile said.
“I think I have three super chances.”