Tumbarumba products shine on day one of Albury Gold Cup carnival

Nick Souquet and Molly Bourke won the feature races on the program at Albury on Thursday.

A couple of Tumbarumba products in Nick Souquet and Molly Bourke stole the show on day one of the Albury Gold Cup carnival on Thursday. 

Bourke – who is based in Wagga these days – combined with Chris Hardy to win the $50,000 Albury Mile on Zakeriz ($13), which held off Azaly (Josh Richards, $9) by 0.43 of a length, while in third and 0.75 of a length back was Silverdale Chief (Quayde Krogh, $10). 

Despite carrying 61kg after Bourke’s 1.5kg claim, the Wagga galloper began nicely from gate nine, and travelled two and three wide before finishing strongly to win the 1600m event.

Souquet – who these days works out of his Wodonga base – landed a winning-double and won the feature on the program.

Riding for Paul Murray in both races, Souquet firstly won the 1600m Benchmark 58 Handicap on Viking Power ($12), which was a very comfortable two and a half lengths winner for connections. 

Souquet then won the feature on the program, with Espirito ($5) taking out the $75,000 City Handicap, with the pair holding off the fast-finishing Rocket Tiger (Shaun Guymer, $5.50) by 2.18 lengths, while in third and 3.14 lengths back was Super Helpful (Billy Owen, $5).

Souquet, who is a legend of the Southern Districts, was pleased to be back in the spotlight at Albury. 

“Any win is a good win these days, but those big wins are really good,” Souquet said. 

“It’s good money, and I was happy to get a couple of winners for Paul, who is a very good trainer.”

The 1175m City Handicap was a loaded affair, with some very good horses contesting the rich country event, and Souquet was able to get a soft sit as Chairman’s Choice (Maddi Price, $81) and Major Time (Rochelle Wedrat-Kroezen, $31) led the field along at a good clip before Espirito powered to the front for a strong win. 

“We didn’t want to lead, because I would have got into a speed battle with those other two,” Souquet said. 

“Paul said I could park him, and ride him colder, and it’s lucky we did because it probably won him the race.”

After recent rain, Albury raced on a soft six surface on Thursday, and Souquet believes that helped the four-year-old, which has won all of his five races on rain-affected tracks. 

“He presented well in the mounting yard, and I knew Paul would have him right to go,” Souquet said. 

Plus, yesterday was a bit soft and shifting, and he got through it at Gosford the start before, and he did the same at Albury.”

Souquet doesn’t have any rides today after his chances were scratched, but Bourke has a big day in the saddle, with the apprentice jumping aboard five on what is a huge day of racing at Albury

The $200,000 Listed Albury Gold Cup headlines the program, with the winner and runner-up qualifying for the $2 million Big Dance and $500,000 Little Dance finals, while the sprinters will line up in the $75,000 Flat Knacker. 

For results from Thursday click here and for Friday’s fields click here