Quirindi trainer Geoff O’Brien has never won a Quirindi Cup, in fact he says he’s never come close to winning one, but he’d be rapt if he could take one out.
“I’d love to win the local cup. It’s always a feather in your cap if you can pull one off,” O’Brien said.
On Friday, February 16, he has the chance to do just that with Rena’s Lad accepted for the Akbura Quirindi Showcase Cup over 1600 metres.
The gelding is ranked an outsider with the major bookies who on average have the six-year-old a $40 chance.
But, O’Brien said he wouldn’t have nominated Rena’s Lad if he didn’t think the gelding had a shot.
“This horse is quite a capable old horse. He should give a pretty good showing,” O’Brien said.
“He’ll probably be pretty close to the lead, he is in most of races, and I’m hoping that he can finish it off.”
A plus for Rena’s Lad’s chances is Rachael Murray will be in the saddle.
“She rides very well and rode him last start,” O’Brien said.
“She said she’d ride him if he ran in the cup and that’s how it happened. She’s a pretty talented rider.”
The John Thompson-trained Makeadane has been installed as favourite as the gelding looks to secure back-to-back Country Cup wins after taking out the Bega Cup on February 4.
The $50,000 Akbura Quirindi Showcase Cup will start at 5.20pm but before that the Quirindi RSL Club Lightning Showcase Handicap will jump at 4.40pm.
The 1100-metre race will see O’Brien’s other runner of the day, Vega de Lago, go around.
O’Brien’s only had the gelding for one preparation and said his gelding may want to run more than 1100 metres.
“It’s probably a bit short for him but he should be rattling home at the finish,” he said. “He’s done well since he’s been here and he’s a horse that needs a little bit further so we’re just hoping we’ll get a shot at them in the last couple of 100.”
Quirindi Jockey Club secretary manager Ted Wilkinson is one man who wouldn’t mind seeing a local take out the cup.
“It’d be good – tremendous,” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson said everything was running smoothly heading into the big day.
“We’re very happy. Acceptances held up well – we’ve got eight really good races,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to a good day. The weather is going to be kind to us and the track will be in top order.”