Local Al Mah Haha set for big race in Goulburn

If any horse deserves a big race win it’s Al Mah Haha.

His trainer Tash Burleigh has watched on as her six-year-old has come close to winning numerous races and had things go against him.

He was scratched at the gates before the 2019 Country Championships Final before running a very close second in the race this year.

He was also brave in running sixth in the $1.3 million Kosciuszko last start at Randwick.

A win in the $200,000 Goulburn Cup (1400m) would ease all the pain.

“He’s been unlucky, the poor bugger,” Burleigh said.

Shaun Guymer has the ride on Al Mah Haha in the Goulburn Cup. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“It would be great to win it because he’d finally get the reward he deserves and to be able to win you’re home town cup would be pretty special in itself.”

“I just hope he gets a bit of luck because he tries really hard.”

Al Mah Haha will be ridden out of barrier six by Shaun Guymer, who also has a good reason to want to lift the Goulburn Cup on Wednesday.

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“It’s Shaun’s first ride on him and he’s always been keen to have go on him and it would be nice for him to win the cup too because he’s a Goulburn boy,” Burleigh said.

“I haven’t had a runner in the Goulburn Cup before so I’m happy to have ‘Al’ in it and he’s a good chance. He’s come through the Kosciuszko really well.”

Al Mah Haha is a genuine city-class horse and that’s where Burleigh wants to take him all the time after Wednesday’s race.

“If he wins this he probably won’t see Goulburn again in a race. It was the first track he won at so it would be nice to do it here again,” she said.

“He’s got a good gate which should be able to give him a bit of room to move with cover.”

Meanwhile, Nash Rawiller is heading down the highway for just one ride in the Goulburn Cup because he has so much belief in Handle The Truth.

The pair combined last start to run a close fourth in the $1.3 million Kosciuszko (1200m) at Randwick. Things didn’t go their way for much of the race that day as trainer Keith Dryden watched on.

Jockey Nash Rawiller will make the trip to Goulburn to ride Handle Of Truth in the Cup. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

“The horse is going well. It was a super run the other day in the Kosciuszko,” Dryden said.

“He sat wide the whole trip and never got the foot off the accelerator. Nash said if he drew a good barrier he would’ve run second if he didn’t win.

“He said he couldn’t give him a rest the whole race. He wanted to ease off between the 800m and the home turn to give him a little breather but he couldn’t. He was brave and he battled on. He didn’t give it away and he knew he had a run by the end of it.”

Last year Rawiller rode Handle The Truth to victory in the Kosciuszko but didn’t follow him down to Goulburn for the cup when he ran second behind eventual Villiers winner Quackerjack.

“Nash likes the horse because he tries so hard,” Dryden said. “He even said how game he was all the way to the line last start. I was thrilled with the way he ran.

“It would be nice just to finish that little bit better.”

GRAFTON

Graham Payne has liked what he’s seen from Yulong Knight for a little while and now it’s time to win a race.

The five-year-old lines up in the feature race at Grafton, the Jacaranda Cup (1106m) after running third last start at Newcastle over 900m.

“He deserves another win and I expect it to be in this race,” Payne said. “On his Newcastle run he goes very close. He ran 32.3 seconds for his last 600m that day.”

Yulong Knight jumped worse last start and over 900m he was virtually gone from that point.

He still came from the back of the field to come home hard late but he can’t afford to do that on Wednesday and Payne is confident he can do the right things from barrier one which means he’ll be in the gates early.

Cejay Graham has been a good-luck charm for trainer Graham Payne. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

“If something plays up he gets a bit claustrophobic and moves around. I’ve asked to let him go in after a couple have already gone in,” Payne said. “He’s shinny as hell and you don’t need to do much with him. He’s had a swim and a couple of sprint ups.

“He had a nice jump out which he won quite easy and ran good time while being hard held.”

Cejay Graham hops on Yulong Knight and she’s been Payne’s good-luck charm for some time now. She should be able to position Yulong Knight just in behind what should be a solid speed over the short trip.

“He’ll love the trip and the young girl sitting on top has had three rides for me for three wins. She’s very intelligent,” Payne said. “I won’t have to give her any instructions. I don’t think he’ll lead She’s Choosie or Bugalugs.”

And if Yulong Knight can’t get the job done, Payne’s got a Plan B for him next start.

“If he doesn’t win this he could go to Brisbane or another Highway. There’s a 1300m one at Newcastle’s Hunter meeting,” Payne said.

Originally published asGoulburn preview: Al’s luck due to change

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