Ginga Dude Leads 2011 Frank Underwood Cup Nominations

Veteran New Zealand galloper and regular visitor to Australia, the Graeme Boyd-trained Ginga Dude is the top-rated nominee for the Frank Underwood Cup 2011, the summer handicap feature to run at Canterbury Racecourse this Saturday.

The Istidaad eight-year-old, a multiple Group winner both at home and down under, is one of 19 early entries for the $100,000 Listed Frank Underwood Cup (1900m) this year, the race relocated and rescheduled from its traditional home at Rosehill Racecourse in mid-January.

Boyd, however, may not accept Ginga Dude for the race due to their hefty weight allocation.

Coming off a decent spring campaign in Melbourne that included a third in the Listed Cranbourne Cup (2025m) and a credible sixth to Glass Harmonium in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m), Ginga Dude was last seen finishing sixth to the Peter Moody-trained Rothera in the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown on November 12.

A winner of 13 of their 48 career starts to date, Ginga Dude has all but been weighted out of contention for the Frank Underwood Cup as the 61kg topweight.

“I’m going to look at the weights before I make my mind up on a start,” Boyd said.

“With his rating he might have to give too much weight to a few horses who could make it difficult for him.”

Boyd then is considering other summer racing options for his gallant galloper including the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on December 17.

“I’ll look at giving him a freshen-up before the Villiers before sending him for a short break after that,” Boyd confirmed.

“He’ll be a bit closer to the others in the Villiers weights so it looks a better race for him.”

Looking further ahead, Boyd is also likely to target the riches of the 2012 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival with Ginga Dude mid next year.

“He can have a break after the Villiers and I’ll get him ready for the Brisbane Carnival,” Boyd said.

“There are a couple of nice races up there for him.”

Four other Frank Underwood Cup nominees are allocated above the minimum 53kg this year with fellow Kiwi Solid Billing (56.5kg) who ran third in this year’s Sydney Cup, the Chris Waller-trained Strike One (56kg) who resumed with a first-up win at Rosehill over 1900m on November 12, Tim Martin’s Zabeel seven-year-old Scouting Wide (55kg) and the John O’Shea-trained Winter Cup winner Legsman (54kg).

Other notable horses vying for a spot in the final field include the now Joe Pride-trained Miss Keepsake a former Queensland Oaks winner, John Thompson’s Group 2 winner Count Encosta, Stephen Farley’s consistent stayer Gazza Guru, Savabeel five-year-old Zara Dancer and Kempsey-based galloper Rodeo Playboy coming off two emphatic wins over the distance this month.

The 2011 Frank Underwood Cup final field and barriers are due for release on Wednesday and will be published right here at Races.com.au.

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2011 Frank Underwood Cup Nominations & Weights

# Horse Trainer Ballot Weight Hcp. Rating
1 GINGA DUDE (NZ) Graeme Boyd 1 61kg 106
2 SOLID BILLING Craig Ritchie 2 56.5kg 97
3 STRIKE ONE (GB) Chris Waller 3 56kg 96
4 SCOUTING WIDE (NZ) Tim Martin 4 55kg 94
5 LEGSMAN (NZ) John O’Shea 5= 54kg 92
6 ASHLEE’S JEWEL Jason Coyle 18 53kg 72
7 BARLAGARNEY Graeme Rogerson 8= 53kg 87
8 COUNT ENCOSTA John P Thompson 7 53kg 89
9 GAZZA GURU Stephen Farley 8= 53kg 87
10 LEVI’S CHOICE John P Thompson 13 53kg 82
11 MISS KEEPSAKE (NZ) Joseph Pride 5= 53kg 92
12 RODEO PLAYBOY John B Scott 17 53kg 73
13 SCOTTISH BORDER Garry Frazer 10= 53kg 86
14 TEARDROP ROCK Gai Waterhouse 10= 53kg 86
15 TOM’S ROCKET Joseph Pride 16 53kg 77
16 UPON Joseph Pride 15 53kg 80
17 WYORA David Blundell 19 53kg 69
18 YULALONA Peter Snowden 14 53kg 81
19 ZARA DANCER (NZ) Jim & Greg Lee 12 53kg 85