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Tough mare Boingo in hunt for Longreach Cup

2a12b447-313e-4be5-ba98-f8d6a4517cc3.jpgBy Jordan Gerrans

A trip to town earlier this year has lifted tough mare Boingo to some of her career best form ahead of the 2021 Longreach Cup this Saturday.

Trained by stalwart of country racing Rodney Little at Ilfracombe, Boingo has won three on the trot and now looks towards the $27,500 Longreach Cup, which will serve as a qualifier for this year’s Country Cups Challenge, as one of the leading contenders.

The seven-year-old mare claimed the Muttaburra Cup two starts back, which was a special occasion for Little, who became a life member of the Muttaburra Amateur Turf Club in 2019 alongside his wife.

Before the Helmet mare put three victories in a line in the bush, Boingo ran an excellent race at Eagle Farm in late June, beaten less than a length at massive odds to finish second in Benchmark 72 grade.

Boingo was first emergency for the 2021 Battle Of The Bush Final so Little made the call to head to Brisbane just in case there was a late scratching and when his veteran mare did not get a start in the show-piece country race, he changed plans slightly.

“I was happy with it, I thought she could run a good race but it was just about we do not know much about the horses she was going against,” Little said of Boingo’s run in Brisbane earlier this year.

“There was a good price about her and some of the boys got some of it.”

The winner of 13 career races spent around a month in Brisbane, 10 days before the BOTB then a run at Eagle Farm and the Sunshine Coast, before returning to Ilfracombe, where she is unbeaten in three starts since.

Little, who has taken the chestnut from Maiden grade to well over $100,000 in prize money, believes the trip to the South East has played a key role in her hot run of form back in the bush.

“She usually goes better at the end of her preps, she did the exact same thing last year,” Little, who has a Longreach Cup on his resume already, said.

“She does not do a lot first-up when you just get her going. Later on, she improves, I could not tell you exactly why.

"Once she gets the form, she holds in, she stays there.”

Sprint-Qualifier-Media-Vita.jpgLong-time Muttaburra trainer Little relocated to Ilfracombe just under a decade ago.

A former jockey, Little had his first picnic race ride when he was about 15 and has been training since he was 20, which was 40-odd years ago, he recalls.

Little, who has 10 horses in work at Ilfracombe, would love a few more in his stable like Boingo, who is still going strong at almost 70 career starts.

“She has a very good record and is a very hard, tough mare,” Little said.

“She is honest as the day is long, she is a bloody lovely mare and I wish I had a few more like her.

“It is going to be a very good race on Saturday, she will be right there somewhere in the straight not far away from the winning post, I’ll guarantee that.”

The $27,500 Longreach Cup, a qualifier for this year’s Country Cups Challenge, is Saturday’s feature event with the winner going on to run at Doomben as part of the TAB Queensland Summer Racing Carnival in early December. 

Like he did earlier this year with the BOTB, Little says he would head to Brisbane for the CCC Final if he was to qualify.

The Country Cups Challenge and Country Stampede returns bigger and better in 2021.

Over 20 heats take place across regional Queensland with the best horses in country racing chasing a berth to battle it out in a Metropolitan final held at Doomben during the TAB Queensland Summer Racing Carnival. 

Four CCC qualifiers will be run on the first weekend of the series - including Ewan, Longreach, Mt Isa and Taroom, with two tracks also hosting Stampede qualifiers, Mt Isa and Gladstone. 

On the Cup itself, Little is slightly concerned around the big weight (62 kgs) and the wide alley (barrier seven) but is keen to press on and hopefully slot in just behind the leaders.

The 2021 Longreach Cup will be run over a mile, with Boingo only ever winning up to 1400 metres, however Little thinks she will get the extra trip this week.

Leading regional apprentice Emma Bell retains the ride on the Little middle-distance galloper, having won the mare seven teams, as well as 10 other minor placings.

Meanwhile, Cairns-based apprentice Scott Gittos makes the long trip from FNQ to Longreach on Saturday with a strong book of rides.

Gittos, who claims three kilograms at non-TABs, has five engagements for Saturday after collecting a winner at Winton earlier this month.

Races

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Eagle Farm | Brisbane Racing Club@Eagle Farm | 3:28 PM

XXXX DRY BENCHMARK 72 Handicap