“They’ll have to run him down”

Blake Ryan-trained Momack to take some catching in Gundagai Cup

The Blake Ryan-trained Momack will contest Sunday’s Gundagai Cup. Photo: Racing Photography.

Eleven horses have accepted and will contest Sunday’s $34,000 Gundagai Cup and there looks to be strong competition in the 1800m feature. 

One runner of interest is the Blake Ryan-trained Momack that will make the trip from Hawksbury. 

The five-year-old has started twice for Ryan, finishing second on both occasions. 

The Uncle Mo gelding finished a good second when first-up over 1400m at Kembla Grange on February 22, and was beaten by the James Cummings-trained Character, which has since gone on to win the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes at Newcastle on Monday. 

Then over 1600m at Orange on March 20, Momack finished second in the Orange Cup Prelude, and was beaten by the Bjorn Baker-trained Shameonus.

Ryan explained that Momack had been set for the Gundagai Cup, with connections wanting to try and get the gelding over more ground. 

“I was given the horse on the proviso that I get the horse up in trip and past 1800m and this race should suit him,” Ryan said.

“I have him going well, but he has never been tried past the mile and that will be the big unknown on Sunday.”

With rain causing havoc in Sydney and further north, Ryan said he had to find a track that wasn’t too rain-affected, with Gundagai again fitting the bill.

“The good thing about Gundagai, is that the track seems to be a bit softer because of where it is compared to other tracks in the area,” Ryan said. 

“My bloke handles soft tracks and not a heavy, which is one of the reasons we are coming up to Gundagai.”

Nick Heywood is on board, with Ryan explaining that he locked-in the form hoop’s services as soon as he decided he was going to Gundagai. 

“I actually texted Nick’s manager the night after Orange and as soon as I found that race,” Ryan said. 

“I wanted to book him straight away; he should suit this horse.”

The front-running gelding is expected to lead, and Heywood will have to be at his best to find a soft lead from gate 10. 

“He’s third-up and he should be peaking fitness wise,” Ryan said. 

“It will all depend if he goes to the front and can hold on.

“I think he will lead. He can really fight you if you do switch him right off, so Nick will get him rolling on the pace, and hopefully get him to settle in the run, and if he does that, they’ll have to run him down and he will take some catching.”

Ryan has changed some gear around, and he hopes to have the Hawkesbury galloped more settled over the nine furlongs.

“I put the pacifier on him because he is a hard going horse at track work,” Ryan said. 

“He is a bit light-mouthed and I didn’t want to go and put more severe bits on him.

“We took the soft approach and hopefully it brings him back half a length mid-race and gets him to settle.”

The winner of the Gundagai Cup will gain entry into the $200,000 Wagga Gold Cup, which will be held next month, and Ryan admitted it was an added attraction. 

“The good thing is that the winner gets into the Wagga Cup,” Ryan said. 

“If we win, he will definitely get set for that race and I think he can win Sunday.

“He might not be good enough to win a Wagga Cup, but we would put him in and see how he goes.”

The Gundagai Cup won’t be a walk in the park though, with 2021 winner Maid of Ore drawing nicely for trainer Nick Olive with gate six, although the 60.5kg will be tough to carry as Billy Owen takes the ride.

Country Cup campaigner Notabadidea will come across from Dubbo for trainer Clint Lundholm, and he looks well-placed from gate four, and Brodie Loy takes the ride. 

Recent Canterbury winner Philipsburg has accepted too, and Shaun Guymer is down for the ride. 

It will be a big day for Gundagai-Adelong Race Club, with the eight-race-program attracting 113 acceptors.

The first race jumps at 1.10pm, and the club will be celebrating Ladies Day with a two-course lunch kicking off at 12pm.

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