Miss Caitlyn contender for today's $30,000 Elders Walcha Cup
MISS Caitlyn has suddenly put herself in the frame for today's $30,000 Elders Walcha Cup (1440m).
When she resumed racing in December there was little to suggest to Grafton trainer Paddy Cunningham that the five-year-old mare would be a cup contender.
Prior to this preparation she had five wins from 29 career starts, including just the one from her past 12.
But an impressive run of four in a row, including an eye-catching Walcha Cup Prelude win on Australia Day, has her posted as the $5 favourite in early betting.
"She just seems to keep getting better with each run," Cunningham said.
"I was a bit surprised how well she ran at Armidale. The 1440 at Walcha might be a little bit of doubt, but the way she went at Armidale, she wanted to keep on going, so I can't be too worried about that.
"We definitely hadn't planned for the Walcha Cup. I didn't even think she would run the Glen Innes Cup."
Miss Caitlyn dominated the 1300m prelude by four lengths from Andrew Parramore's Power Receiver in second and Sue Grills-trained Keep It Danish, who just 16 days earlier had pushed Miss Caitlyn all the way in the $14,500 Glen Innes Cup (1400m).
Miss Caitlyn's run began with the Texas Cup (1200m) on December 13, followed by a 1200m Benchmark 57 victory at Inverell on Boxing Day.
Cunningham's apprentice, Jodi Worley, has ridden the last three winners and will be in the saddle again when Miss Caitlyn jumps from barrier six at 5.10pm today.
"The horse seems well suited," Cunningham said. "Although she's rated high, she's weighted well enough to have a chance and drawn pretty well."
Cunningham's other two starters at Walcha weren't so lucky in the barrier draws. Wendy's Baby could find it tough going from gate 17 in the 1000m Handicap, while last-start winner at Grafton, Hula Girl, also drew wide in 14 for the Class 3 Handicap.
"Both drew outside, so they're going to do it hard," Cunningham admitted.
"Hula Girl is in real good form, but, from 14 alley, is going to need a bit of luck, because she gets back a bit."