Wednesday, 25 January 2012
: Multiple stakes winner Voice Commander will return to the stables of Canberra trainer Nick Olive on Friday with another tilt at the $140,000 Listed Wagga Gold Cup (2000m) in May his main campaign goal.
| Voice Commander|
Photo by Racing and Sports
won the Listed event last year by a nose to the Bede Murray trained World Wide
, with owner Nathan Hambrook saying he has high hopes of going back-to-back in this year's race.
“It would be nice to win it again. It's a really tough, strong stayer's race and I believe it is the pinnacle of country racing,” he said.
“You get all the good country horses and plenty of Sydney horses come down too. I know Chris Waller will bring a few down.
“The old man won the Wagga Cup back in 2000 with a horse trained by Barbara Joseph [Sporting] so we've already had a bit of success over there within the family.”
Hambrook said that we are still about 10-weeks away from seeing Voice Commander return to the race track.
“We're probably going to start him off at about the 1400-metre mark in a race at Sydney, and depending on the weights we'll follow the country cups because the main goal is the Wagga Cup again,” he said.
“By all reports he is looking really good. He always comes in pretty well after a break so there are no excuses to how he'll go this preparation.”
Voice Commander won the Gundagai and Queanbeyan Cups leading in to the Wagga Cup last year and carried no less than 60kg in each, which is likely to be the case again.
“Billy Owen was able to claim 3kg in both of those races last year, so we will probably be looking for a similar apprentice to claim three or four kilos again,” Hambrook said.
Since that preparation where Voice Commander won four races - which also included the Listed $100,750 Frank Underwood Cup. He had a short five race campaign late last year which yielded little results.
“He was underdone last campaign. We copped a heavy track at Moonee Valley second-up which the horse didn't like,” said Hambrook.
“He ran a good race at the Seymour Cup next start (finishing fifth) which was his best run that preparation but that run at Moonee Valley definitely put us on the back foot.
“At Flemington [Johnnie Walker Stakes] he drew wide and Kathy O'Hara had to use a lot of gas to get him up the front which told a bit so we decided to spell him a bit after that.”
Voice Commander has had a highly successful career so far spanning 47 starts with an impressive winning strike rate of 26% and total career winnings exceeding $700,000.
Despite now being seven-years of age, Hambrook expects the gelding to still be racing for at least a couple more years.
“I think he has a fair bit left in him. He is lightly raced for his age. We haven't really pushed him in any of his preparations. We haven't ever busted him by just pushing, pushing, and pushing him,” he said.
“In the long term I'd like to get him back to the Magic Millions. He raced there over 1400-metres the last couple of times where he finished third and fourth, but we'll probably be aiming at the Stayers Cup at this stage.”