Connect With Us:
The voice of Manilla since 1899
HomeNewsManilla Cup held at Gunnedah

Manilla Cup held at Gunnedah

Covid has posed somewhat of a hurdle for many business owners during the last year, but that didn’t deter half a dozen Manilla outlets indicating their support for the recent Manilla Business Houses Cup Meeting held at Gunnedah’s Riverside Racecourse.

Hopping on board with their support and gaining namesakes for the six-race meeting were the Post Office Hotel Maiden Plate, Rodney Rolls Construction Maiden Handicap, PurtlePlevy Agencies BM 50 Handicap, Budden’s Hardware and Clothing Class 1 Handicap, The Cheeky Butcher Manilla BM 50 Handicap and the feature Royal Hotel Iris Rennie Memorial Manilla Cup.

Accolades though were earned by Tamworth galloper Ballast. He’s considered by connections as somewhat of a “problem horse”, but he showed rivals a clean set of heels to grab an all-the-way win in the 1600m feature Manilla Cup.

That victory was the nine-year-old’s eleventh career win, and his third on the trot for Tamworth trainer Melissa Dennett and apprentice jockey Jackson Searle. He won atGilgandra in August, then following his Barraba Cup (1400m) win on September 18, backed up to take out the Manilla Cup, a feat which which impressed his trainer and her partner Brody Cummins to no end.

“He’s always been somewhat of a problem horse, that’s why he came to us from out west (Collarenebri/Walgett connections),” Melissa said.

“The word must have got around that Brody was good at dealing with troubled horses. Brody was approached by connections, and we took him on.”

In just on 12 months, Melissa has given Ballast 12 starts for three minor placings and the three wins from his last three outings.

“He was to have been retired three starts back because of his age – he’s getting a bit old at nine. But then he got up and won at Gilgandra (1600m BM 50 on August 21). We took him to Barraba Cup (1400m) and he won that too, then he led all the way to win at Gunnedah on the weekend. I think he just broke all the other horses’ hearts,” she joked.

“He’s racing full of confidence at the moment, but he’s a horse you have to really know to train him right. He’s not an easy horse to ride pre-race, but Brody’s a pretty good horseman and does a wonderful job.

“Jackson (indentured to Tamworth trainer Cody Morgan) is in a good stable. Ballast has a good strong tempo and is a very tough galloper, but Jackson handled him well. He’s ridden him for all three wins for me.The horse probably doesn’t want to be retired, so we’ll just play it as he tells us now.”

Gunnedah Jockey Club secretary Lyn Tongue said that despite there being no crowd due to current Covid restrictions, the meeting went off without a hitch.

“We had good strong fields, and connections of the cup winner were overjoyed. It was a good training feat for Melissa as the horse was a bit obnoxious before the race. He won easily,” Lyn said.

“Traditionally, our September meeting is always the Manilla Cup – the Iris Rennie Memorial (sponsored by the Royal Hotel). But due to Covid and the current restrictions on crowds, I popped over to Manilla to get the feel of us using local business houses’ names for the meeting, and they all wanted to come on board. They even indicated that they’d be coming aboard again next year. Their response was wonderful.” By Vinnie Todd