Blundell aims to keep Snake Gully Cup in local hands

David Blundell will have Thistledo contesting today’s Snake Gully Cup. Photo: Bradley Photos.

David ‘Darky’ Blundell has spent the past 12 months choreographing Thistledo’s Snake Gully Cup preparation.

After just missing out on a run in the 2020 edition of the time-honoured race, the plan was always to run the nine-year-old in the $100,000 feature this year, and that plan looked set in stone, that was until the popular Gundagai trainer was hospitalised with a perforated bowel. 

“Yeah, it wasn’t too good. I was in there for a week or so and I got out last week (Wednesday) and I’m feeling pretty second-hand but alright,” Blundell said.

“This race has been 12 months in the making for us and when I first got crook, I thought the 12 months planning was all out the door.”

With plenty of  help from his wife, Leah Blundell, and fellow trainer and friend, Jim Scobie, Thistledo was kept on track and despite the setback to his trainer, the Zariz gelding will jump as one of the local favourites from gate 12 in today’s Snake Gully Cup.

“Jim Scobie put his hand up and he’s been really good and the wife has been helping heaps too,” Blundell said. 

“Jim is working the horses for me and I’m just standing around and getting in the way.”

Blundell is usually quite reserved when discussing his chances, but he believed Thistledo was in perfect order for today’s feature race.

“I’m very happy with my horse. He has come on since his last start at Wagga where he got squeezed out and was a bit unlucky,” Blundell said.

“He is working bloody tremendous and he is down to 55kg instead of carrying 60kg-odd and he won’t know himself.”

Thistledo is only lightly-raced for his age, greeting the starter 29 times for five wins and eight placings, and after missing out on a run last year, Blundell was just happy to see him starting this year. 

“I was hoping he would run last year but he never got in because of his rating,” Blundell said. 

“He is the right sort of horse for this race and he should run well and I guess we will find out Friday.”

Blundell knows what it takes to win a Snake Gully Cup, having won the race before with legendary Gundagai galloper, Carvalin, who got the job done in 1998.

The local champion won three Tumut Cups, two Gundagai Cups, one Adelong Cup and, most notably, the one Snake Gully Cup, a race in which he started on seven occasions for one win, two seconds, two thirds and one fourth.

“I’ve won it with Carvalin and he run a few placings too and I don’t know what it is about the race, but everyone wants to win it,” Blundell said.

“Even those Sydney trainers usually come down; it’s just a good old country race.”

Michael Heagney is slated to take the ride, and the old stager will be at home in the heavy conditions according Blundell.

“Michael Heagney is on him at the moment. We had trouble getting a jockey but we are right now,” Blundell said. 

“The wet track won’t worry him and my word, he gets through it.”

Wet Weather looks to be the only dampener on what should be a terrific two days of racing at Gundagai Adelong Race Club, with today’s Snake Gully Cup meeting and tomorrow’s Hair of the Dog Cup race day attracting well over 200 acceptances.

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