Rough And Ready wins Cambridge Gold Cup Final
By Michael Guerin
Arna Donnelly says there were two deserved winners when Rough And Ready captured the $20,000 Cambridge Gold Cup Final on Monday.
One was the horse himself while the other were owners Robert and Sharon Symon for their belief and support of the horse when he often found himself in races beyond his reach.
“This horse has won 13 races, which is no small feat,” says Donnelly, who quinellaed the race with Bad Medicine running second.
“He has been a real warrior, racing all last winter and taking on a horse like Copy That, which he really shouldn’t have to.
“So to turn up so often and give his best is a real testament to what type of horse he is.
“But I’m just as thrilled for his owners. They live all the way down south and they could easily have sold this horse or sent him to Australia to race.
“But they have been so loyal so to get a win like this for them is really satisfying.”
It was a good win too as Rough And Ready came from the 30m backmark and looped the field to get the lead and then paced the last 800m in 55.8, the final 400m in 27.6 in the hands of David Butcher, with favourite Zarias in third.
While the win meant a lot of Donnelly so too did the earlier maiden success of Jolimont but for the very unusual circumstances in which she got him to train.
Big-time galloping owner Tommy Heptinstall was one day randomly watching NZ’s weekly harness show The Box Seat and heard Donnelly’s talents, quite rightly, being praised.
Heptinstall rang Donnelly out of the blue, said he was impressed and said he had $20,000 for her to go buy a yearling.
“It was unbelievable and I actually ended up going to $31,000 for this fella, by Sweet Lou out of the good filly Running On Faith at the sales,” laughs Donnelly.
“Tommy was okay with that but the really funny part is I have only met Tommy once and that was when he popped into the winner’s circle bar at Alexandra Park one night after I had won a race, shook my hand for one second and I have never seen him again since.
“But I am hoping he is enjoying watching the horse cause I think he is a pretty good horse in the making.
“He had to work hard the first lap today and stuck it out late in 2:42 for 2200m which is good going at your second start, so he has more wins left in him.”
The other stars of the show at Cambridge were the Luk Chin-trained stablemates Safrakova and Alana, who quinellaed the $20,000 Trotter’s Cambridge Cup, continuing Chin’s great form since turning 80 last week.
Now there is a sentence you don’t read every day.