THE 36th running of the famed $9000 Woop Woop Cup at Wauchope Jockey Club’s race meeting at its Beechwood Road headquarters on Boxing Day has attracted strong nominations from Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Taree, Wyong, Murwillumbah and Grafton.
The folklore cup meeting at its picturesque track is one of the biggest meetings, crowd-wise, on the Mid North Coast racing calendar and holidaymakers and locals use it as a social occasion to catch up with old friends over the Christmas break.
Eleven nominations have been received for the Wauchope Stock & Estate Agents Cup over 1800m,with back-up fields on the five-race card also receiving similar numbers.
Acceptances are taken today (Monday) so the final makeup of fields were not known at print time but indications are that Port’s Long Journey Home, trained by Neil Godbolt, Three Lucky Eights and Firming,t rained on the track by Colt Prosser, and Butane from the stable of Kempsey trainer Barry Ratcliff should fight out the finish.
Nine-year-old gelding Long Journey Home should be ideally suited by the distance and a claim for an apprentice jockey to reduce its top-weight after a good third at Port over 1500m on December 14.
Godbolt said the gelding’s recent runs have been okay and the galloper should plug away at the distance.
“He has won a race every campaign - his last win was at Coffs Harbour last preparation.”
Prosser is likely to have three runners, the other being Rigamarole, and he is after back-to-back wins in the cup, having trained Steel Allure, ridden by premier Port jockey Peter Graham, in last year’s cup.
Graham takes the ride on five-year-old gelding Three Lucky Eights which has won on the track and was sixth behind subsequent Wyong placegetter and winner at Coffs Harbour, Taree’s Can’t Be Doubted over 1603m on December 6.
“The horse hit the line well on that occasion at Coffs and I expect him to run the distance out well on a track he has won on,” said Prosser.
Six-year-old gelding Firming, a winner at the track and up to 2100m,has had two good barrier trials since the galloper raced on November 10,and Prosser said it had been working well on its home track.
Ratcliff said he was happy with the run of five-year-old gelding Butane, winner of five races, when just over three lengths seventh behind Wyong galloper Rembetica over 2000m at Port on December 17.
Interesting nomination is seven-year-old gelding High Principles, trained by Narara headmaster Andrew Eastcott, who won the Woop Woop Cup with nine-year-old gelding Thundergaze in 2011.
High Principles wasn’t beaten far when fifth over 1600m at Gosford last start and previous to that won over 1606m at Grafton.
Prosser should have a hand in most races and could provide the best bet in six-year-old mare Happy Rebel, again to be ridden by Wauchope jockey Belinda Hodder who is winning races everywhere of late, which won at Port last start and won at the cup meeting last year.
It is in the High Street Living Leading Appliances Handicap over 1000m,whereas Godbolt’s Stick Fighter is well placed in the Redhead Machinery & Sales & Spares Handicap over 1240m.