Wagga win has Olive eyeing MTC Guineas with in-form Wal’s Angels

Nick Heywood has now won three on the trot on the Nick Olive-trained Wal’s Angels. Image: Bradley Photos.

Wal’s Angels made it three wins on the trot at Wagga Wagga on Monday when taking out the 1200m Class Two Handicap. 

With Nick Heywood in the saddle, the Harry Angel gelding started the well-supported $2 favourite, and from gate one, he flew out of the barriers and took up the lead. 

The Queanbeyan galloper made every post a winner, leading the rest of the way to put two lengths on runner-up Astunner (Damon Budler, $4.60). 

The Scott Spackman-trained Fil (Josh Richards, $9) was in third and three-and-a-half lengths back.

Well-placed in Class Two company, Olive went to Wagga confident the up-and-coming Wal’s Angels would be a little too classy for his rivals. 

“Coming back from the 1400m to the 1200m, there was a little bit of a question mark, but I thought he would have the ability to take care of them,” Olive said. 

“Nick rode him an absolute treat again, and the horse is going super; he’s just on an upward trajectory.”

In the lead-up to his Wagga win, Heywood had been riding Wal’s Angels, who had won a $50,000 Super Maiden (1200m) at Moruya on March 3 ahead of another good win in the $35,000 Country Boosted Class One Handicap (1400m) at Albury on March 21. 

Prior to that, he had gone five starts without a win, and Olive said it was good to see the Tumut-bred gelding delivering on his potential. 

“He’s just done everything right this preparation,” Olive said. 

“He had a terrible prep and didn’t come up last time, but this preparation has been spot on, and I just want to say thanks to Paul Sturt for giving us the opportunity to train the horse and trusting us to have this preparation after not having a great one last prep.”

The three-year-old will likely head to the $120,000 Class Three Highway Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 20 before a crack at the $75,000 MTC Guineas (1400m). 

“He’ll head to the Highway in a couple of weeks, and then obviously, there’s the Wagga carnival and the Wagga Guineas, which we’d like to give him a crack at,” Olive said. 

For Heywood, it was a big day at Wagga’s Murrumbidgee Turf Club, which hosted the transferred Gundagai Cup meeting.

Riding for Gundagai trainer David Blundell, Heywood won on Zabellsareringing ($1.65) in the 1800m Class One Handicap before teaming up with Tumut trainer Kerry Weir to take out the 1065m Maiden Handicap on Finn’s The Icon ($2.70). 

Danny Beasley also enjoyed a big day on his home deck, riding three winners and taking out the jockey’s challenge.

In the saddle for Gary Colvin, who trained a winning double, Beasley won on Swift Enuff ($4.60) in the 1065m Class One Handicap and Kappy’s Angel ($4.40) in the 1200m Benchmark 66 Handicap. 

In the feature of the day, Beasley then took out the $36,000 Gundagai Cup on the Tim Donnelly-trained Cliff House ($1.60), which won by panels.

Cliff House is now exempt from the ballot for next month’s $200,000 Wagga Wagga Gold Cup.