Matt Paget has not been a stranger to the winner's circle, but will need to pull out all the stops to get their after the $150,000 Port Macquarie Cup.
Matt Paget has not been a stranger to the winner's circle, but will need to pull out all the stops to get their after the $150,000 Port Macquarie Cup. Leigh Jensen

Paget aims for shy at stumps in Port Macquarie Cup

RACING: Former Grafton-based jockey Matt Paget will have his work cut out for him when he saddles up for the rich Port Macquarie Cup today.

Paget, who relocated to Coffs Harbour at the end of last season in July, will pilot $101-outsider Mary's Girl in the $150,000 black type feature.

It will be a major step up for the Julie Pratten-trained mare who was a last start maiden winner at the Clarence River Jockey Club last month.

With all eyes on race favourite Kim Waugh's Goathland, who is coming off back-to-back fourth-placed finishes in Group 3 company, Paget admitted the pressure was off his mount.

"I don't really have any nerves, I guess you would if you were riding one of the top chances but there is no pressure on me, noone has high expectations for this horse,” he said.

"When you look at the top end of the runners and there are Group 3 runners and Taree Cup winners, and then you look at Mary's Girl who just won a maiden in her eighth start, there is a big difference.”

While most form pundits would rate Paget no chance at figuring into the race finish, the jockey said that will not stop him giving it his all from barrier nine.

"When you're in the saddle, and the gates ping open, form means nothing,” he said. "Coming out in a line of 14, every single runner is a live chance.

"On their day horses can just fire and anything can happen. It's not out of our reach, but it is going to be tough.”

Mary's Girl will likely run just off the pace for most of the 2000m journey, before attempting a late throw at the stumps in the final 200m.

Paget will have a full book of ride at the showcase meeting, but expects punters won't have to wait long for his best chance.

For Paget it comes in race one in the form of debutant runner Gumshoe, who trialled well for Port Macquarie trainer Marc Quinn last week.

"I rode him in the trial and he trailled super,” Paget said. "We do have the wide draw (barrier 15), but he is primed for this race and if punters can forgive the wide draw he will definitely feature in the final stages of the race.”



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