Wild Rocket wins thrilling Cotton Cup

Mathew Cahill guided the Kylie Kennedy-trained Wild Rocket to a thrilling win in the 2021 Warren Jockey Club Cotton Cup. Photo: Racing Photography.

The 2021 Cotton Cup will go down in history as one of the most exciting finishes in Warren Jockey Club history.

The 1600m Open Handicap was an open race on paper, with Rich and Shameless starting the $3.70 favourite, just ahead of Wild Rocket and Oakfield Captain at $4.

The race was blown wide open in the early stages though, with the Clint Lundholm-trained Silverhawk taken to the front by two-kilo claiming apprentice, Elissa Meredith. 

The young hoop looked to have gotten away with the win, with the grey leading by “20 lengths with 500m to go” and “some 10 lengths” when straightening for home according to race caller, Col Hodges. 

Despite the mammoth lead, weary legs failed the Dubbo runner, who faded to finish fifth, beaten just over four lengths by the fast-finishing Wild Rocket, which is trained by Kylie Kenney and was ridden by Mathew Cahill.

The Narromine runner was made to work though, edging Rich and Shameless for Scott Singleton and Billy Cray in second and Not Negotiating for Peter Stanley and Ashleigh Stanley in third.

Kennedy admitted she had her doubts if the field would catch the tearaway leader.  

“Oh my god, I didn’t think they were going to catch it either,” Kennedy said after the race.

“She was slowly working home and with that weight, she probably didn’t have that ping that usually does; she is honest, and I love her.”

Wild Rocket won the Narromine Cup back in August before running third in back-to-back feature races in October, finishing behind Classy Rebel in the Coonamble Crystal Sprint and Notabadidea in the Coonabarabran Cup.

Now, the five-year-old, which boasts seven wins from 24 starts and over $175,000 in prizemoney, is headed to the paddock before facing bigger targets next autumn and winter.

“She is honest, and I will have a talk to the owners, and I will probably look at turning her out now. She has done more than we could possibly imagine,” Kennedy said. 

“She deserves a break, and she is more a winter horse, and we will turn her out over the summer and bring her back and take her to town.”

In a huge day for the Warren Jockey Club, Classy Rebel won his ninth race from 15 starts this preparation when saluting in the Warren Jockey Club Sprint over the 1200m. 

The Dar Lunn-prepared seven-year-old led them up for jockey, Clayton Gallagher, and held on for a gallant win over the fast-finishing pair of Gadfly and The Long Run.

Gallagher rode four winners on the eight-race-program, after earlier riding a treble for Brett Thompson in races two, three and four. 

The pair combined with Larynx in the 1400m Benchmark 58 Handicap, Winter Moon in the 1600m Class Two Handicap and Carry On Cathy in the 1000m Maiden Handicap. 

For full Warren Jockey Club Cotton Cup results, readers can click here