Weeding eyes Leeton Cup with in-form Dark Legacy

Dark Legacy, pictured here after winning at Hay last year, will take on Saturday’s Leeton Cup.
Image: Jeff Hanson/NSW Country and Picnic Racing.

Fresh off her victory in Saturday’s Holbrook President’s Cup, the Craig Weeding-trained Dark Legacy will target Saturday’s $14,000 Leeton Cup. 

A four-time winner, the Highland Reel mare was taken to the front at Holbrook and proved too good for her rivals with four-kilogram apprentice Jess Booth in the saddle. 

From gate eight, Dark Legacy will have Jake Duffy back in the saddle in Saturday’s 1600m feature, and the Wangaratta trainer said they will try their luck out in front. 

“When she gets to the front and is left alone, she is hard to run down,” Weeding told NSW Country and Picnic Racing

“When she gets taken on early, she can get into trouble, but we’ll go to Leeton and lead no matter what and see how she goes.”

It’s a lower-quality Benchmark 58 Country Cup, and with Dark Legacy having previously finished second to Decker in the Benchmark 72 Carrathool Cup, Weeding believes it could be the right race for his tough mare.

“She ran second in the Carrathool Cup and fourth in the Towong Cup, so she’s been thereabouts,” Weeding said.

“I wouldn’t say she deserves the win as she has done enough this preparation, and hopefully, she can get another win because she is going to get a break after this race.”

It’s been some training effort with Dark Legacy, who entered her current preparation as a three-start maiden. 

She scored back-to-back wins at Adaminaby and Hay in November before winning the third race of her preparation at Tumut in February.

The Wangaratta galloper had her 16th start this prep at Holbrook, bringing up her fourth win, while she has placed a further six times and earned connections over $50,000.

“She is at the end of a very long prep,” Weeding said. 

“She does all of her work out of the paddock, so she doesn’t get bored in a box, which enables her to have such a long prep. 

“Essentially, everything she has done has been in one prep.”

With 39 wins to his credit in 2023/24, Weeding has won 29 races in country NSW this season, with the Southern Districts a happy hunting ground.

“Dark Legacy is a perfect example of one of our horses suited to that level of racing, and we’ll go wherever it suits our horses,” Weeding said.

“We haven’t got many non-TAB horses left racing at the end of the season as it is getting cooler, and we’ve used up a lot of those horses at meetings we’ve been to. 

“Still, It’s been great to be able to go to these meetings and have the success we’ve had this season.”

Weeding will head back to NSW on Sunday with two chances on the Country Showcase program. 

The stable will team up with regular jockey Jake Duffy when racing debutant Jellignite in the $50,000 Super Maiden Plate (1000m) and Big Day Out in the $40,000 Wagga Town Plate Prelude (1200m). 

“We’ve got Jellignite having its first start, and she has trialled well,” Weeding said.

“She’s got her share of ability, and it’s a nice place to kick her off over 1000m.

“With Big Day Out, we’ve got him in the Town Plate Prelude; we’re finding him a bit hard to place. 

“We stepped him out to 1400m in the Holbrook Cup last week, and he ran okay. It was a bit far for him, but he gets back to 1200m with some weight relief, and we should see him improve.”