Local trainer Dave Heywood is hopeful a couple of awkward barriers don‟t get in the way of the celebrations during this week‟s Wagga Gold Cup Carnival.
Heywood will have just three runners over the two days of the carnival, with his major player Living on a Prayer (Jay Ford) starting in the $80,000 XXXX Gold 2013 Wagga Town Plate (1200m) on Thursday.
The trainer‟s other two runners will compete on Cup day (Friday) with the unbeaten April Rose lining up in the Loam & Stone Handicap (1000m) and Who‟s Paying (Blake Shinn) entered for the Wagga Wagga Marketplace Handicap (1200m).
“I would have been confident Living on a Prayer could win with a good barrier but coming up with barrier 17 is a worry,” Heywood said this afternoon. “I‟m hoping he can get across OK and not use up too much petrol.
“He‟s as genuine as they come (12 starts; seven wins & five placings) but he‟ll need luck from out there. In saying that, Jay Ford is a top rider so I‟ll leave it to him.”
April Rose has only raced on three occasions with two victories at Wagga and one at Albury: “She was a later maturing horse which is why she‟s only raced three times as a rising five-year-old.
“Her ownership is a real family affair with my wife Cath a part-owner, along with Greg and Kerry Fahey (niece), „big‟ Dave Mott who owns the stables I‟ve been in for 37 years and Russ Milne, a great mate who has owned some great gallopers I‟ve trained like King of Indies and Pride of Indies.
“But again, the barrier draw wasn‟t kind with gate number 11.”
Who‟s Paying took Heywood by surprise when a last start third to Living on a Prayer in the Town Plate Prelude over 1200m at Wagga: “We were going to run him in the Wagga Cup Prelude (1800m) but he had a setback. We brought him back to the 1200m and he motored home.
“At least we‟ve drawn well in barrier four and he‟ll be camped just off the speed and should take plenty of holding out.”
By Mark Brassel