Mixed luck on Cambridge jumpers

Ngatira Gold (Richard Cully) breaking through for his first jumps win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Ngatira Gold (Richard Cully) breaking through for his first jumps win at Ellerslie yesterday.

Richard Cully had no luck on his main ride at Ellerslie yesterday, but he did start the day off on a high note aboard another Cambridge jumper.

Cully’s main reason for trekking over from Melbourne was to ride the Ben Foote-trained Amanood Lad in the McGregor Grant Steeplechase, but luck deserted the pair at the second-last fence when they parted company at a time when a win seemed very likely.

Though naturally disappointed with the outcome on Amanood Lad, Cully had reason to smile after winning the first event, the Rising Foundation Hurdles, on the Samantha Logan-trained Ngatira Gold.

Cully had ridden Ngatira Gold three times previously and been placed twice. He was aboard when third at Te Rapa last July and again three starts later when sixth in the maiden hurdles on Pakuranga Hunt Cup day, then finished second on him at Te Aroha in September last year.

Knowing Ngatira Gold, Cully rode him positively and kept him focused throughout, settling him third then taking him to the front with 700 metres to run. Ngatira Gold kept going strongly to win by two and a quarter lengths from I’m All Yours.

“He’s been working really well,” said Logan. “We put the side winkers on and it was an aggressive ride from Richard. The horse has a lot of ability but mentally he can switch off.”

Logan is also part of the syndicate which races Ngatira Gold, along with her mother, Ruakaka trainer Donna Logan.

Ngatira Gold has now recorded a win apiece on the flat and over fences and Logan is considering a trek to Hastings for the son of Gold Centre.

“If he works well at home he might go to Hawke’s Bay or we’ll look for an open race for him somewhere,” said Logan.