CUP DAY: The Lismore horse that could win $60,000
PEAK Hill is an up and coming talent taking on the more experienced gallopers in the $60,000 XXXX Gold Lismore Cup (2100m) for Lismore trainer Daniel Bowen today.
The son of Rip Van Winkle has had just 14 starts for two wins and $27,740 in prizemoney.
He hasn't even raced on his home track yet and makes his debut there in the Cup against the older and more experienced gallopers from across northern NSW and Queensland.
"A few weeks ago I thought he'd be looking at this race in 12 months time," Bowen said.
"But he won well at Grafton and then he had no luck his last start, got blocked for a run. So I just thought we'd give him a go. I won't be surprised if he runs a big race. Just needs a bit of luck."
He isn't the only up and comer Bowen has in today's eight-race Cup meeting.
The 33-year-old horseman also has the likes of Queen of Kingston and Almas well placed on a day the young trainer regards as his biggest racing day of the year.
The last three years he's celebrated winners on Cup day and hopes to continue that record today.
"It's a great thrill to win at home on Cup day. It's our biggest day of the year and I do plan ahead for it," Bowen said.
He's been able to set a few of his stable stars for the day. While he described Peak Hill as an up and comer he also says the same about Queen of Kingston and Almas.
Queen of Kingston is a five-year-old chestnut daughter of Nicconi, with four wins in 10 starts.
She can be a handful, too, although her most recent outing, a good win in a 1406m Class 3 at Grafton, she was much better mannered.
The talented mare runs in today's $30,000 Lismore Workers Club Rousillon Showcase Handicap (1516m), with Stephen Traecey jumping her from barrier eight.
Almas, Bowen said, was also "on the way up".
He's won four of his last five starts and comes off a last start win at Lismore where he beat Queen of Kingston back on August 14.
"It has been five weeks between runs," Bowen said.
"He was going to the paddock but his owners had some hopes of making the Kosciuszko. He is a horse on the way up and is going to get a good run from the barrier (one). This is his toughest test, though. He is well weighted and has a good barrier."
Matt McGuren will ride him (and Peak Hill) but will ride (Almas) a kilogram over, something that Bowen isn't overly concerned about.
"I want to keep Matty on him. He's ridden him his last four wins," he said.
Bowen also has Dux Nutz running today and believes he, too, is a good hope.
That Bowen's fortunes have risen over the past 12 months is easy to see.
He's jumped from around 12 in work to 23 after his best season on record, training 26 winners in NSW and Queensland.
He's hoping that success translates to another winning Cup day at home so he can also continue to promote his stable.