BRETT Cavanough has scoffed at suggestions of any rivalry between himself and Benalla trainer Peter Donnelly ahead of Sunday’s $100,000 Benalla Gold Cup.
The Cavanough-trained Niblick and Fabriano will meet for the first time since March when Cavanough was awarded the Albury Gold Cup on protest.
Donnelly claims he was robbed of the $170,000 feature and is still furious about the protest that saw his horse relegated from first to third.
But Cavanough said a return bout with Fabriano was the least of his worries as he prepared Niblick for another lucrative country cup.
“It doesn’t bother me and Fabriano doesn’t even register a blip on my radar,” Cavanough said.
“The bloke that owns Fabriano has got the problem, not Brett Cavanough.
“I’m quite happy for Fabriano to run second or third to me again.
“As long as I win.
“It looks a race he should earn a cheque in.”
Niblick spent 18 weeks in the paddock after handing Cavanough his first home-town feature before running unplaced first up at Flemington last month.
The seven-year-old gelding then finished just under six-lengths behind Toydini in the group 3 Cameron Handicap at Newcastle at his most recent start on September 18.
“Toydini is favourite for the $500,000 Epsom Handicap at Randwick tomorrow so Niblick should be a chance in a Benalla cup on that run,” he said.
“But in saying that, he is at the crossroads leading into Sunday’s race.
“If he went ordinary he would go to the paddock and just come back and have a crack at another Albury Cup.
“But if he goes super then we will have a look at what else could be on the radar.”
Both Niblick and Fabriano are quoted as $11-chances in TAB fixed odds markets. Anthony Freedman-trained German import Waldpark is the pre-post favourite at $4 ahead of Folding Gear at $5.
Multiple Victorian premiership winning jockey Brad Rawiller has been booked to ride Niblick who will carry 57½ kilograms and has drawn perfectly in barrier four.
“He has got a good barrier and is in pretty well at the weights,” Cavanough said.
“He struggled at listed and group 3 company.
“So you come back to a handicap and I don’t think he will ever get that kind of luxury weight in a $100,000 handicap again in his career.
“If the horse is right on the day, there is little doubt he will be in the finish.”