Tye Angland had never ridden a racehorse before leaving Wagga as a 15-year-old but he has always wanted to return home and win the Wagga Cup.
A couple of placings in the cup have only driven his ambition and he believes he is on the right stayer in Our Voodoo Prince on Friday. Angland will arrive in great form after kicking home the first two winners at Canterbury on Wednesday.
“My family are still there and it is a race I have wanted to win for most of my career. I have had a second and third but I think I’m going there with a great chance,” Angland said.
“I might have left when I was 15 but it is still home.”
Our Voodoo Prince is a half brother to English and Irish Derby winner Australia and got back to his best form when runner-up to Pornichet in the Neville Sellwood Stakes on Golden Slipper day.
He was disappointing in the JRA Plate behind Wagga Cup favourite Gypsy Diamond but that could be put down to the soft Randwick track.
“He is back in grade and on a good track, which are positives for him. We know he will run the trip and I’m actually pretty confident,” Angland said. “I was going to ride Street Sense, which I was on in the Albury Cup when it ran third.
“Something went wrong there, I don’t know what but to pick one up for Chris Waller, that is very good at 2000 metres is great.
“If you look at his run, two runs back it was a very good effort and if he runs up to that I’ll be in the finish.”
Angland teamed with Waller to win the opener at Canterbury on Wednesday with the well-related Press Statement before Once Again gave him a second win.
Press Statement is half brother to Waller’s two-year-old group 1 winner Pressday and had impressed Angland at the barrier trials.
“I thought he was a nice horse from his trials but I didn’t expect him to be doing that first-up at 1100 metres,” Angland said. “He will only get better as the races get longer.”
Angland could be looking at riding the Wagga Cup and Hawkesbury Cup winners on consecutive days as he lines up on Ecuador at Hawkesbury, where he started his time as a jockey.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained five-year-old returned from more than year out because of injury. He was run down by Rugged Cross on the final day of the carnival at Randwick.
“It was a hard-run 1400 metres and he did well to hang on,” Angland said. “I think the blinkers going back on him will make a big difference to him as will the benefit fitness-wise he takes from that run.”
Ecuador has a good record on soft ground, which he is likely to get on Saturday. Hawkesbury Race Club chief executive Brian Fletcher said the track had stood up well to more than 400mm of rain this month and was rated a soft-7 on Wednesday.
“The new drainage has made a huge difference. On the old track we would be extremely doubtful,” Fletcher said. “But with drains every two metres the water can get away.
“Going at the forecast it is not too good for Friday and Saturday but we are hopeful that we will race.”
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