Over the 147-year history of the Wellington Cup, the famous Trentham two-miler has witnessed any number of upset victories, but none would have been as great as the one that South Island stayer Bluey’s Chance nearly pulled off on Saturday.
The Kenny Moore-trained seven-year-old went within a few strides of a remarkable win at odds in excess of $150, succumbing to the late charge of race favourite Waisake in the final few strides and denying Moore and apprentice rider Mereana Hudson a fairytale result.
Moore, who had earlier in the day produced $49 winner Amazon Goddess at Riccarton, was far from disappointed with the result, preferring to reflect on a magnificent performance from his charge.
“It was a pretty amazing day,” Moore said.
“I was actually really confident of a good run as long as he settled.
“We have two Bluey’s Chances as if he is out in the open, he will pull his head off but if he can get a good sit with some pace on then almost nothing will outstay him.
“We were just lucky that Mereana rode an absolute pearler and got him to settle even though he was in the open on the pace, where he would normally just pull all the way.”
Moore had been looking for a rider for the Remind gelding for quite some time before having Hudson recommended to him by Foxton trainer Suzy Gordon.
“We have had the horse staying with Suzy for the last three days and she recommended Mereana to us when I was trying to find a rider for him,” he said.
“I had never met her before, but she has just got beautiful hands as she got him to relax so well.
“I don’t think we could have asked for a better ride.”
Moore admitted that his confidence started to rise as the race went on and when Bluey’s Chance hit the front at the top of the straight, he began to dream of a famous victory.
“He is one of those remarkable horses that he doesn’t care if it’s wet, dry, 1200m or two miles, he just goes his grand, honest race,” he said.
“When he was in front turning in, I was just gob-smacked and couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
“I actually became really confident as I just know how tough he is and he won’t let anything past him without a real scrap.
“In the end I couldn’t have been any happier than if he had won.”
Moore, who began his training career in the standardbred industry back in the late 1990’s before switching to thoroughbreds in 2017, races Bluey’s Chance with harness trainer Dave Mitchell and Scotty Sutton, who is Moore’s business partner in equine transport company New Zealand Horse Transport.
It was Mitchell who purchased Bluey’s Chance for just $500 from the Long Acres Stud draft at the 2015 NZB South Island Sale.
“Dave bought him for $500 which is a great story in itself,” Moore said.
“When we got him, our main aim was to win a maiden race at Greymouth.
“We never dreamed we would end up in something like the Wellington Cup.”
While Moore was overjoyed with his Wellington Cup day experience, he was also feeling satisfied he could provide Australian-based owner and breeder Kirk Devers with a win on his birthday with Amazon Goddess.
“She (Amazon Goddess) is a very nice mare and it was extra special for her owner Kirk Devers.” Moore said.
“I’ve got six or seven horses in the stable for Kirk and it was his 50th birthday on Saturday.
“All he wanted was a win on his birthday and we managed to do that for him.” – NZ Racing Desk