It isn’t on a Saturday and it isn’t a black-type but the 2011 Wodonga Cup in country Victoria this Sunday is still a beauty of a race for the punters and one ace hoop Luke Nolen is keen to race in having been booked to ride top-weight of the field, the Brian Cox-trained He’s An Angel.
Set to jump at 3:52pm (local time) as Wodonga Race 7 on Sunday, the $66,000 Wodonga Cup (1590m) this year attracted a full field of 14 starters with He’s An Angel to wear the No. 1 saddlecloth.
The veteran Jeune seven-year-old enjoyed a first-up win in the Jerilderie Cup back in September, and also recently took out a 1400 metre handicap at Bendigo.
They were disappointing last-start, however, when 10th to Viva Las in the Snake Gully Cup (1400m) at Gundagai on November 11.
Local Wodonga trainer Cox, and Luke Nolen who is most famous for his association with superstar mare Black Caviar, are hopeful He’s An Angel can return to form back at their home track on Sunday.
“It’s Cup Day up there and it’s normally a good day of racing in the north east,” Nolen said.
“I spent most of my adolescence and youth and apprenticeship in the north east, so it’s always good to get back and support those meetings.”
He’s An Angel, however, must also overcome a wide barrier 13 of 14 draw if they are to salute in their home Cup.
Cox will also be represented in the Wodonga Cup this year by Flagstaff and Cudgewa, to be ridden by Lisa Cropp, who fared far better in the barrier draw than their stablemate the pair due to jump from gates two and four respectively.
Another top chance that has suffered an early blow with a double-digit gate is the Stephen Aldrige-trained Thrillionaire out in barrier 12.
The Monde Bleu mare comes off a smart win at the track and distance back on November 6 and is well-weighted on 55kg.
Along with He’s An Angel, two other Wodonga Cup hopes this year have been handicapped above the 55kg minimum.
First is the Leon Corstens-trained Delayedreaction on 56.5kg, the eight-year-old Postponed gelding drawn favourably in barrier three.
Delayedreaction was outclassed last-start, beaten over 13 lengths when ninth to He’s Remarkable in the Visit Victoria Handicap (1600m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day.
The drop back in class will suite the Kyneton-based galloper who has been racing against some of the best in the business all spring in Melbourne.
The next heaviest-weighted hopeful is then Neil Dyer’s Testa Rossa nine-year-old Redhead Rage with 56kg, last seen running a brave second to Did We Win in the Donald Cup (1620m) on November 13.
Other notable runners in the Wodonga Cup 2011 field include recent Berrigan Cup winner Regular Aussie and Michael Hickmott’s imported Danehill Dancer five-year-old Cornish.
Young Morphettville-based trainer Michael Hickmott is looking to follow in the footsteps of his father John by claiming Wodonga Cup success.
Cornish began their career racing in Ireland when under the preparation of Aiden O’Brien, the trainer now in charge of former Aussie superstar So You Think, with their best performance being a third in the Group 1 International Stakes at York in August of 2009.
They were sent to Australian and trained by Robert Hickmott at the start of this year after being purchased by Lloyd Williams who originally had them set for a Melbourne Cup campaign.
When Melbourne Cup plans were shelved, Cornish was sold and joined their current stable earlier this season.
“Cornish probably went three-to-four lengths below what I expected last start, but that was trainer error,” Hickmott said.
“He’s a big, gross thing that needs plenty of work and has really stepped up since and should run well.”
Below punters can find the complete 2011 Telstra Business Centre Wodonga Cup field, barriers, weights and jockeys.
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2011 Wodonga Cup Final Field & Barrier Draw
Wodonga Race 7 – 27/11/2011
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||88170X1410||HE’S AN ANGEL||Brian Cox||Luke Nolen||13||57kg||84|
|2||000X847049||DELAYEDREACTION (NZ)||Leon Corstens||Brad Rawiller||3||56.5kg||82|
|3||9715X02902||REDHEAD RAGE||Neil Dyer||Luke Currie||6||56kg||80|
|4||5525X22210||REGULAR AUSSIE||Mick Hartney||Billy Egan||8||55kg||75|
|5||60X3151471||THRILLIONAIRE||Stephen Aldridge||Ms Stacey Rawiller (a)||12||55kg||75|
|6||X0X5387X44||CORNISH (IRE)||Michael Hickmott||Ms Libby Hopwood||10||55kg||74|
|7||16X642414X||ARCH PEGASUS||Luke Oliver||Peter Mertens||14||55kg||74|
|8||455315X054||PEACE PRIZE||Neil Dyer||Damian Lane (a)||7||55kg||72|
|9||7111X83||MURDOCH’S JOY||Brian Cox||Ms Linda Meech||5||55kg||70|
|10||92960X0832||JETCONI||Gerald Egan||Jason Benbow||1||55kg||68|
|11||X005657654||AMERRYKING||Leslie Robertson||Terry Barry||9||55kg||68|
|12||39X2370X06||FLAGSTAFF||Brian Cox||Robert Beattie||2||55kg||66|
|13||3000X93162||CUDGEWA||Brian Cox||Ms Lisa Cropp||4||55kg||64|
|14||6350565435||TOP TIER||Leslie Robertson||Lucas Camilleri||11||55kg||56|