Hungerford Wonder will be the closest thing to a local going around in Saturday’s iconic Louth Cup (2000m).
He may be trained five hours away at Dubbo and his owners may be an eight hour drive away but when you’re talking about a place like Louth that is as good as local.
Hungerford Wonder, trained by Clint Lundholm, is owned by the owners of the pub at Hungerford, the outback town on the Queensland border that less than 50 people call home.
Lundholm, who competed in the Cup as a jockey for his grandfather in the past, has never had any of his own horses compete in the iconic outback feature.
He will opt to stay at home on Saturday and celebrate his daughter’s birthday but said there was part of him which would love to be making the pilgrimage north-west.
“I’ve had a couple of rides there for Pop and had a third and a second but could never win,” he said of Louth and the Cup.
“It’s a bloody shame I can’t go out … I would have loved to, especially with a horse like this who’s a chance.”
Hungerford Wonder, described by her trainer as a “lovely old mare”, is deep in her preparation but Lundholm said that isn’t a worry as it usually takes her four or five starts to get going.
He said the dirt track surface and 2000m are no issue either as she is coming off a 2400m Benchmark 60 event at Warren.
Michael Hackett will take the ride from barrier six in the $12,000 Louth Cup.
“He (Hackett) comes across from Parkes five days a week to ride for me so you’ve got to reward him for that and he knows the mare well and has ridden her before,” Lundholm said.
Hungerford Wonder’s best result this preparation have been two second-placed finishes at Coonamble and Dubbo.
Dubbo jockey Kody Nestor will also line up in the Cup on top weight Maharaaj, one of two hopes for Wagga trainer Chris Heywood.
Saturday’s seven-race non-TAB meeting starts at 1pm with the Cup at 4.05pm.
Lundholm also has six horses contesting Sunday’s showcase meeting at Narromine and said Dreadlock is the best hope of the group.