Troy O’Neile admits he’s generally “not a fan” of his horses “leading all the way” but that’s exactly the way two of his charges produced wins at the Walcha Cup carnival over the weekend.
O’Neile – who was the only trainer to pick up two wins at the two-day carnival – opened his account in the big one, the 1440-metre Elders Walcha Cup, on Friday.
Try ‘N’ Run A Muck was ridden hard from barrier seven by Jake Pracey-Holmes to take the lead and the gutsy five-year-old gelding stayed there to win the cup.
“I was stoked with him. He was tough and it was an honest run like he always puts in,” O’Neile said.
“When you can lead all the way, that’s always a good effort.”
The finish was close.
Try ‘N’ Run A Muck won by just a tenth of a length in front of Kris Lees’ Hammoon Dream in a swamping finish.
Craig Martin’s Bullet Kid and George Woodward’s Loud Enough dead-heated in third with a third of a length separating the first four horses at the finish.
The longer the straight went, the less confident O’Neile felt.
“I was feeling pretty confident coming around the home corner even though he copped a few heavy bumps from Craig Martin’s horse [Present Sense],” O’Neile said.
“Around 50 out, I thought we were falling in a bit of heap but to his credit, he kept fighting.”
Try ‘N’ Run A Muck will return to the paddock for the next fortnight before O’Neile decides where to take the gelding next.
“We might take him to a midweeker in Sydney or look at another cup around here,” O’Neile said.
After taking out the Walcha Cup, O’Neile was among the winners again on Saturday as She’s Sharp As broke her maiden in the Walcha Bowling Club Class 1 Handicap.
Much like her stablemate, She’s Sharp As led all the way and won by a short margin – less than a tenth of a length.
For O’Neile, the win wasn’t a massive surprise.
“We’ve always had a bit of an opinion of this horse. She’s a speedy little thing but we’ve never been able to get her to settle,” O’Neile said.
“Over the last few weeks we’ve been able to settle her with the addition of the earmuffs.”
The win for the mare came after a close second placing at Bingara on January 27.
With a win under the belt, O’Neile believed She’s Sharp As would continue to improve.
“I think she will. She’s learnt a lot in the last couple of starts,” he said.
“She was narrowly beaten at Bingara but in her mind, she thought she won that race. When she was under pressure yesterday [Saturday], she was strong.”
O’Neile said he would now look for another suitable race for She’s Sharp As.
“I’m going to find another race for her. Another 1200-metre race. A class 1 or a benchmark 55,” he said.