THE 2021 Taree Cup winner, Charmmebaby is a 'rough each-way chance' for the inaugural $2 million The Big Dance to be raced at Randwick next Tuesday.
That's the opinion of the 6-year-old mare's trainer, Glen Milligan of Taree
A 1600m quality handicap for 3YOs and upwards, the field for the race was drawn from the winners and second placed horses of 25 country cup races from across NSW. This included the Taree Cup, run last November.
"I would have loved for her to have another run (before Tuesday),'' Milligan said.
"She was first emergency for the Invitation last Saturday but didn't get a start, which was unfortunate. She steps from 1200 to 1600 second up which isn't ideal.
"But she can run 1600 out no worries, so we've just had to put plenty of work into her.''
Charmmebaby's last run was on Port Cup day, Friday, October 7.
"She went around with 63kgs in the big sprint up there first up,'' Milligan said.
"I was happy with her run. She did her best work in the last 100 yards.''
While it will be a strong field next week, Milligan pointed out that Charmmebaby is a Listed winner.
"And I don't know how many others there are in the race,'' he said.
"But a lot of the others are bread and butter horses from Sydney. (Chris) Waller has so many in it. Those city trainers are coming into the country now and taking our prizemoney.
"I think that stinks a bit... how those city trainers can come to the country and take the prizemoney from the battlers from the bush. I think country cups should all be handicaps to stop that.''
Milligan admitted his charge will 'need plenty of luck' on Tuesday.
'Hopefully we'll draw an alley,'' he said.
Kyle Wilson-Taylor will have the sit.
"This will be his first ride on her. If she happens to go back to Brisbane afterwards he'll probably stick with her up there,'' Milligan explained.
He said it's '50-50' as to whether Charmmebaby will head to Brisbane, where she has enjoyed great success.
"The Listed race she won last December, I'm half thinking about sending her back for that,'' he said.
"But she might go for a good spell, she hasn't had one for 12 months.''
From 34 starts Charmmebaby's has nine wins, six seconds and two thirds for prizemoney of $558,000.
"I've had her for two-and-a half years. I paid $14,000 for her and she's won $558,000,'' Milligan said.
"She's had 30 starts for us and won nine and been placed seven times.''
Charmmebaby is likely to be sold as a brood mare early next year.
"We've been offered pretty good money for her,'' Milligan said.
"I was happy to take it and run. But (fellow owners) dad (Bob Milligan) and the boys from Sydney outvoted me.''
Milligan will head to Sydney early Tuesday with Charmmebaby.
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"With the highway now it's only three-and-a-half hours. If you go down the day before, and they don't eat or don't drink their water, you're up s..t creek,'' he explained.
Charmmebaby opened at $51 and Milligan suspects she'll start around that price.
"She has a few followers up here, so I wouldn't be surprised if she's only $20. But $50, we'll take it,'' Milligan said.
First place getter wins $1,050,000 and the prizemoney goes to 10th, where it's $30,000.
However, Milligan said he'll have to put the celebrations on hold if Charmmebaby features in the major money.
"I have to go to Grafton on Wednesday, so there won't be much drinking or celebrating until the end of the week,'' he said with a laugh.