Winners set to continue for Paget and Cunningham at Ballina today
Words: Bill Poulos
PADDY Cunningham’s huge week at the track is set to continue with runners at Ballina today and Armidale on Tuesday.
The Glen Innes trainer led back a winning treble on his home track Saturday week ago, including the Glen Innes Cup with Hula Girl, and on Friday prepared two winners – Tan Tat Nova and Our Minaan – at Tamworth Jockey Club’s big Country Music Cup Showcase meeting.
Cunningham backed up yesterday to win the 1400m Deepwater Cup with six-year-old Carry Me Gee Gee – the runner-up in last week’s Glen Innes Cup – and today saddles up Hula Girl in the $20,000 Paradise FM Ballina Mile with regular hoop Matt Paget on board.
Paget parked Carry Me Gee Gee just off the speed in the small Deepwater Cup field before making a sustained run from before the home turn to win easily.
Carry Me Gee Gee (evens fav) hit the line strongly to score by a half-length from Luke Berger’s Amajill (7-4) with Sharon Pepper’s Bingo Bobby (11-2) more than two lengths away third.
“It was only a small field so I just slotted myself sitting fourth on the outside. I enjoyed a nice run and had the second favourite Amajill just sitting outside me,” Paget said.
“At about the 450m I eased off the fence and got onto the back of her and made sure I had clear running in the straight – it was a good win,” Paget said.
Carry Me Gee defied the on-pace trend at the once-a-year meeting, but getting back in the field didn’t concern Paget.
“He came from behind and there weren’t many at the meeting that did that on the day,” Paget said.
“It’s a track where you have to be right up there but because it was a small field he was able to sit just off them.
“If the field was bigger it might’ve been a trickier race to win but when you’ve only got to get past a few horses, getting back in the field is not that big of a worry,” he said.
Paget also steered home Glen Innes Cup winner Hula Girl for Cunningham and hopes the momentum continues today with the improving mare.
“She has to be a chance. She goes up a little bit in the weights and the field is a little bit classier, but she’s in winning form which is always good form,” he said.
“We’ll see how she goes over the mile, that’s probably the biggest query with her.
“She was strong on the line at Glen Innes and I like to think that she’ll handle the 1600m – on her run at Glen I wouldn’t say that she won’t get the trip.”
Paget has a big couple of days ahead of him, with six rides at Ballina today and another six at Armidale on Tuesday.
Paget’s book today includes Mustaknown for Danielle Cunningham in the 1000m Good Luck Grahame Timbrell Maiden Plate, Leo Clapham’s Moogem in the 1900m Tursa class 1-maiden plate and Andrew Pilling’s last-start winner Mathieson lane in the 1300m tab.com.au class 2 handicap.
“It’s been a busy, busy week and I’m counting down the days to Australia Day, when I’ve a day off,” Paget smiled.
“In the meantime I’ll try and get a couple of more winners at Ballina,” he said.