SYDNEY trainer Guy Walter produced a rare domination of the $170,000 Albury Gold Cup yesterday as the rain stayed away and punters came out to play.
Walter produced his first cup winner with Canny Ballad and also the third-placegetter Jacquinot Bay to subdue the pain of losing one of his best stable members, multiple group 1 winner Appearance, to a career-ending injury earlier in the week.
Splitting the two Warwick Farm raiders was $51 long-shot Price Of Glory, who went within a half-head of gifting Albury trainer Brett Cavanough back-to-back gold cups after running fourth behind stablemate Niblick last year.
Another bumper crowd of 16,839 flocked to the races with the rain, which had threatened to play havoc with the carnival earlier in the week, staying away.
Click play on the video below to see highlights from the Albury Gold Cup. (iPhone users go to Video tab in Menu.)
Fashionistas were out and about with visitors taking out all the major prizes.
Grant Leverington and Courtney Doyle claimed the best dressed male and female sections and Kerry McGlone took out the millinery award with a personally crafted head-piece.
Albury took centre stage as the standalone meeting in NSW after a washout at Port Macquarie and cashed in with increased betting turnover helped by the presence of Walter and other leading trainers and jockeys.
Almost $2 million was wagered on the NSW TAB with fixed odds, on-course and corporate bookie turnover still to be calculated.
Kathy O’Hara became only the second female rider to win the gold cup and the first since Lisa Cropp 30 years ago on Rose Reward.
The race was marred by some interference to multiple runners on the home turn including Canny Ballad, but the four-year-old was able to recover and record a thrilling win.
Stewards couldn’t pinpoint the instigator of the trouble and no suspensions were handed out.
“He is a really deserving winner,” Walter said.
“The owners have been very patient and given him a lot of time.
“We might think of the Wagga Cup, but we will wait and see.”
The Lloyd Williams-owned and well fancied Massiyn was caught up in the backwash of the trouble and Williams’ son Nick made a hasty retreat from the course via helicopter.
The day began on an emotional note with Claire Baxter accepting a life membership on behalf of her late father and club committeeman, Steve, who died last December.
Geoff Alexander was also presented life membership after 15 years on the committee.
Cavanough made up for his near miss in the gold cup when he clinched back-to-back Flat Knackers with The Monstar at just his eighth career start.
Champion trainer Gai Waterhouse won her second Albury Guineas and an accompanying $50,000 bonus when Ryker upstaged another classy field.
Ryker is owned by the same connections as former star galloper Pierro with part-owner Greg Kolivas previously living on the Border.
The Adrian Ledger Memorial was taken out by Wagga galloper Surzeal with special guest and Victorian Jockeys Association chief Des O’Keefe making the presentation to trainer Trevor Sutherland and hoop Michael Heagney.