THEIR attention might be elsewhere — perhaps a few hours down the road at Flemington — but the state’s top three ranked trainers in David Hayes, Darren Weir and Mick Price will be battling it out as Echuca hosts its own Melbourne Cup Day race meet.
But the local trainers will be looking to knock them off and grab a winner of their own, particularly in the Echuca Newsagency Handicap where half the 10-horse field are local hopes.
Torrumbarry trainer Tony Williams has two chances in Lichen Lad and Lamartine, while Rhys Archard’s Make Mine Brandy enters off a third placing in the Deniliquin Cup, the start before winning over 1175m at Manangatang.
Treasure Map, a seven-year-old gelding, will have its first start for the Michael Cornish and Donna Gaskin stable, its first run off a 25-week spell while Daryl Archard’s I Am Dan is unlikely to run after a third placing at Berrigan on Saturday.
The day’s feature, the $20,000 Moama Bowling Club Handicap over 3224m, will see a descendant of Melbourne Cup royalty look to emulate what its sire did seven years ago.
Missy Zippy, bred by 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain, will make its third start in the two-mile race, but needs to make a massive improvement from last start when it was beaten 25 lengths, unable to get the 2000m journey.
Race seven, the Independent Cranes Handicap, features a couple of local hopes in Michael Newton’s Stynes and Rhys Archard’s Arellano. Both will have their work cut out to beat Hayes’ filly Elraazy which won at odds over the same distance last start at Tatura.
Veteran Tongala trainer John Thomas will try to pinch a win with eight-year-old mare Villainous Vixen who ran an impressive third last two weeks ago at the same track and distance. The third race of the day has a trio of local hopes; Gwenda Johnstone’s Wide Open Road will look to take its first win after placing in its previous two starts, while Cornish and Gaskin’s Winter’s Day and Daryl Archard’s Rapid Ronda will also look for maiden wins.
Johnstone has Sightly and Cornish and Gaskin Treasures Ours in the second, a 1200m maiden, while the Hayes team will be looking for some positive starts with four first-starters in the first two races.