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Charitable Hickmott to saddle first Birdsville runner

By Alex Nolan

Trainer Michael Hickmott says stories of the great cattle baron Sir Sidney Kidman sparked his long-held ambition to attend a Birdsville Cup Carnival, which he will do for the first time this weekend.

Hickmott will saddle his first Birdsville runner, Jayeffkay, in the Akubra QTIS Class 2 Handicap (Race 4) on Saturday, before he attempts to win the UBET Birdsville Cup with early favourite Unbreakable ($5.50 

Hickmott began the 1200km journey to Birdsville on Wednesday.

“It’s one of those things I’ve always wanted to do. I grew up listening about Sir Sidney Kidman and the stories of the work he did up that way,” Hickmott said.

Hickmott has generously donated a 5% share in Unbreakable through an online auction this week to raise money for the Queensland drought relief effort.

Magic Millions is facilitating the auction, with the highest bid currently sitting at $1300.

Bids must be sent to birdsville@magicmillions.com.au before 4pm on Thursday (August 30).

“I thought we had the right horse (Unbreakable) to go there this year, and when I saw that SKY were broadcasting the meeting and RQ was donating wagering revenue I thought we would do our part,” he said.

“Country people are the backbone of Australian racing. Some of our best horsemen and women come from the country.”

Hickmott said Unbreakable (Barrier 14) would be suited by the wide draw.

“When the emergencies come out he should jump from barrier 9 … I’m not unhappy about that because it allows him to find his position,” he said.  

“He’s a genuine little horse. He was one of the favourites in the Darwin Cup last year and got near the front at the 600m mark before going amiss.”

The Birdsville Cup (1600m) has attracted a capacity field, headed by the Bevan Johnson-trained Blue Jest.

Trainer Craig Smith will be looking for a third Birdsville Cup when he saddles up recent metropolitan winner Palace Tycoon, after succeeding with Fast Fella in 2017, and Dancefloor Prodigy in 2012.