Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas will be searching for back-to-back City of Port Augusta Cup victories when their filly La La Luchie steps out in Sunday’s feature.
The pair claimed last year’s event when Soaring High saluted off an eight-day break to take the Cup for Clare Lindop by 1.3 lengths over New Empire and Eigelstein. Macdonald and Gluyas will be confident heading into Sunday as the Port Augusta Cup has provided plenty of recent success with another of their runners, Gossip Guru winning the 2014 edition.
La La Luchie is coming off two straight wins at Strathalbyn defeating The Big Cheese on both occasions. In both races the filly has run on strongly from the back of the field over 2000m to claim victory and the step up to 2300m in Sunday’s Cup should really suit the youngster. Her rider on Sunday, Raquel Clark is in fantastic form at the track, riding a treble in her last outing at Port Augusta. Carrying the minimum weight, La La Luchie will be tough to beat.
Squatters Cup winner Chestnut Charlie will carry the top weight in Sunday’s Cup after his impressive win in the traditional lead-up race. The eight-year-old will be aiming to add a second Country Cup to his resume this year after claiming the Millicent Cup earlier this year. Getting the distance could be a query for the Phillippe Huserot trained runner with the gelding only running over 2300m once and that was in this year’s Group 2 Adelaide Cup where he finished well back in the field. He will have the services of Ryan Hurdle who has ridden five winners at the track this year at a 27.8% strike rate.
The Port Augusta Cup is a race that New Empire always gets up for, winning it in 2016 and running second in last year’s event at any old odds. The eight-year-old was below his best in the Squatters Cup but no doubt will be up for another strong tilt at the Cup on Sunday. Third placegetter in last year’s Cup, Eigelstein is super consistent at his home track but amazingly as never saluted the judge first, running five placings from his ten starts. While he hasn’t won since last year’s Roxby Downs Cup, he has been a model of consistency of late without getting that much deserved eleventh career win.
As for the other chances, Vintage Grove ran a fantastic race for third for his new trainer Ryan Dawson in the Squatters Cup and is a runner who would not surprise on Sunday while Wally Bencic’s Overstreet claimed May’s Hawker Cup and loves it at Port Augusta for four wins and four placings at track from 16 starts.
Photograph: Lorelie Pycroft.