Wayne Oakenfull will be out to claim the Inverell Cup for a second consecutive year, with both Amazingly and Zaidin set to contest the $45,000 feature event on Sunday.
The Inverell trainer won his hometown cup in 2022, with Renegade getting the job done for connections, while stablemate Amazingly finished fourth.
Oakenfull conceded that the expected firm track will go against Amazingly (Adam Sewell, 55kg) on Sunday, but he believes Zaidin (Ben Looker, 55kg) is a big chance of featuring.
“The track has dried right out, which won’t suit Amazingly. We went from having one of the best springs ever rain wise to a very hot summer and the heat has dried the track out and it won’t help him,” Oakenfull said.
“Zaidin is a big chance, and don’t worry about him. He will handle the track; he is a good little horse.”
Zaidin resumed from a 10-week let-up at Ballina on December 16 and following a fast-finishing third in the 1410m Christmas Cup, Oakenfull explained that Ben Looker was happy to ride the seven-year-old.
“Benny trialled our good horse Renegade the same day that Zaidin ran third at Ballina in the Christmas Cup, and he came back and said that horse goes well, and he asked me where he was going, and I said the Inverell Cup and well he was more than happy to ride him,” Oakenfull said.
Coincidently, the Inverell trainer only ended up with Zaidin after his good mate and fellow local trainer Dean Smith suggested that he buy it.
“My mate Dean Smith had the horse before me, and he trained him to a good win in a Country Boosted race before I got him,” Oakenfull said.
“Well, Dean’s been real crook and he got a bad lung infection and couldn’t do a whole lot; he ended up in hospital, and he told me he was going to slow down for a while and that he was going to sell that horse.
“He told me to buy him as he thought I’d have a bit of luck with him, and he ran a terrific race first-up, and Dean actually came up with me and watched him run now that he’s started to come better.”
Smith will no doubt be cheering Zaidin on when he takes on a good Inverell Cup field, and Oakenfull agreed that it would be a special result if his galloper was to greet the judge first.
“He is a lovely little horse, and we’ve got him in the cup. They are hard races to win, but we will see how he goes,” Oakenfull said.
“I’ve only won the one Inverell Cup, and I’ve won three Glen Innes Cups and Dean won an Inverell Cup (in 2006) with a horse called Excellent Anne.
“We’ve been mates for 30 years, and we have travelled everywhere together, and prepared horses together, and I’ve got a pretty busy transport business, and he helps a lot, and to win the Inverell Cup with that horse would be pretty special.”
As always, the Inverell Cup meeting promises to be a bumper race day, with a big crowd set to be on course for the fashions on the field, entertainment, and the eight-race showcase meeting.
There will be an Inverell Cup calcutta on December 31 at Inverell Sporties, and for more information click here.
For fields click here.