Tamworth galloper could make up for missing home cup

A MINOR mishap cost Kurtley a start in Sunday’s Tamworth Cup but the Grafton Guineas winner and last year’s HNWRA Horse of the Year could bounce back at Mudgee in Sunday’s $35,000 Gooree Cup (1600m) as Quirindi Jockey Club also prepares for Monday’s big Willow Tree Cup day.

The Leon Davies-trained Kurtley was to have started in Sunday’s Tamworth Cup won by Pitt Street but his Tamworth trainer elected to bypass the race after a slight “mishap” during the week.

“He’ll go to Mudgee (Gooree Cup) or to the Gunnedah Cup,”  Davies said.

“Both are over a mile. I’ll have a look and see before we make a decision.”

Four-year-old Kurtley, winner of six of his 18 starts for $181,870 in prizemoney, received 58kg in the Gooree Cup.

Only Garry McCarney’s Fox Solid (59kg), Max Crockett’s Lancelot (59) and Ross Stitt’s Single Spirit (58.5kg) received more.

Single Spirit had a tough run (8th) in the Tamworth Cup after drawing wide but was only beaten two lengths and might back up on Sunday,  Stitt said.

Kurtley, Double Halo (fourth in the Tamworth Cup), and Scottish Border all copped 58kg.

While Kurtley missed the Cup, his little half sister, Gelsomina, didn’t and won the last race on Cup day.

Davies had also won the last race on Cup day the year before,  Tamworth Jockey Club president Tim Coates recalled.

It was a quirky statistic from a good day’s racing  that had been boosted by the presence of former Queanbeyan taxi driver Joe Janiak and his fairytale horse Takeover Target.

“Lesley (Jeffriess) and Sue (Grills) organised Joe,”  Coates said of the two female Tamworth trainers.

“They met him on a tour to England a few years ago.

“It was a bonus for us.”

Janiak was only too pleased to float his former Group 1 sprinting star to Tamworth.

The winner of eight Group 1’s across Australia and the world and more than $6million in prizemoney, he didn’t let his fans down on Cup day.

“He’s jumping out of his skin,”  Janiak said on Sunday as he nervously watched his now 14-year-old gelding parade and then lead the Cup field onto the track.

Tamworth apprentice Sophie Young had the honour of partnering him and she also had a nervous moment or two when Takeover Target shied as he walked onto the Tamworth track.

“He’s a bit fresh,”  Janiak smiled while not taking an eye off his grand galloper.

Takeover Target had also been a guest at the Australian Turf Club’s Championships and  Janiak said it was a pleasure to take him down there as well as to Tamworth.

Also delighted yesterday were the Muswellbrook and Quirindi clubs.

Muswellbrook’s 118-strong nomination list swelled to 131 before acceptances while the Quirindi Jockey Club’s original 137 increased to more than 150.

“We must be doing something right,”  Quirindi Jockey Club secretary Ted Wilkinson said.

“That’s a great result for us. We’re very happy with that.”

Quirindi had only extended noms on two races, including its Willow Tree Cup, which increased from 11 to 19.

That might have been due to yesterday’s rain as well.

“The track will play very well on Monday,”  Wilkinson said.

“We haven’t had any frosts at this stage and have a very good grass coverage."

Joe Janiak lets Takeover Target pose for his fans at Sunday’s Tamworth Cup. Photo: Barry Smith 270414BSG19

Joe Janiak lets Takeover Target pose for his fans at Sunday’s Tamworth Cup. Photo: Barry Smith 270414BSG19

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