Betting on picnic races with horses ridden by amateur riders is not the normal domain of most punters.
At Wagga on Saturday however, punters Australia-wide will be able to invest on the Rundles Auctions Wagga Picnic Cup (1600m), race seven on the eight-race TAB program.
While many of the riders are little known to the general public, the six horses engaged are all seasoned TAB performers and if Corowa trainer Rick Freyer is right, there’s a good thing engaged – Three Buddies.
The five-year-old gelding, trained by Rick’s father Richard and part-owned by long-time stable supporter, Melbourne-based Jim Allison who raced quality gallopers Bronze Aussie and Aussie Bomber, will use the event as a confidence booster for a future multiple Cups campaign.
“He should have won his past two starts,” Rick Freyer said.
“At Albury, Nick (Souquet) dashed him clear three lengths, probably went a little too early and he got run down on the line.
“Last start at the same track, he was a tragedy beaten, he couldn’t get out anywhere in the straight.
“Hopefully third time around he can make amends.”
Three Buddies, with three wins and four placings from 12 starts, was beaten a head by Daumet over 1600m at Albury on August 26 then, after Souquet had him box seating throughout, the Bianconi gelding had no clear running over the final 350m when fifth to Rock `n’ Rumble over the same distance there on September 12.
“He’s gone right on with the job since last start,” Freyer said.
“He’ll be very hard to beat. He was quoted as odds-on in our local paper but I think they will bet better than that.”
Three Buddies will be ridden by Pat Kelly who has a wealth of experience, having ridden for jumps king Eric Musgrove in Melbourne, a stint in Ireland and now working with Guy Walter at his Goulburn satellite stable.
And Kelly is shooting for back-to-back wins having won last year’s race aboard Saturday’s rival Marview.
As for the 66kg Three Buddies will hump, Freyer wasn’t perturbed.
“Three Buddies is an imposing animal, the weight won’t worry him,” he said.