The Harrovian wins the Townsville Cup

Steve Bennett Steve Bennett
  • Tom Hedley celebrates his first Townsville Cup victory
  • Jockey Robert Thompson claims his second Cup in 20 years

The Harrovian has given owner Tom Hedley his first Townsville Cup.
The tiny town of Tolga, nestled in the Atherton Tablelands is still celebrating as both owner and trainer claim the coveted Townsville Cup.
For Hedley, it’s been a long time coming after setting out plans 20 years ago to win the Cup. 

For trainer, Stephen Massingham, it was nothing short of a miracle for the Fastnet Rock gelding as he almost died in transit to his new North Queensland stables.
The horse (who was formerly with Victorian trainer Jim Conlan) developed a serious bout of travel sickness and had to be treated in Brisbane on the way north to Atherton and after spending seven weeks with the vet, he was spelled in the Queensland capital until he had recovered and was well enough to continue the journey north.
It was a dream come true for Massingham.

“This means everything,” he said after the race. 

“To get the horse back from where he was, even to just get him to the races was a great thrill. 

Then to get him to win a Townsville Cup is unbelievable”.

Meanwhile, Hall Of Fame jockey Robert Thompson enjoyed a celebration of his own, as it was 20 years ago he took out his only other Townsville Cup when he won the trophy on Once Upon A Crime back in 1999.
Thompson has been heading north for the Winter Carnival for the past 20 years and the ‘King of the Coalfields’ (as he is known) was just as happy to win this year’s Cup.

“I had a lovely run in the race, I was back behind midfield and just one off. I just bided my time, the horse travelled brilliantly, he just relaxed into it,” he said. 

“Then from about the 700m I was able to pick a couple off and get on the back of Noel Callow, the horse that I beat, and I thought he was the one I had to beat. 

“He just brought me right up into the race”.

Hedley saddled up no less than six runners in the 16-strong field and finished the race collecting first and third prize, with the locally-trained Hardern rounding out the trifecta while race favourite, Unbiased, split the Hedley pair to grab second place.
Hedley will now shift his focus further north to Cairns where the North Queensland Winter Carnival continues, beginning with the $75k Cairns Newmarket Handicap, to be run this Saturday, August 3. 
Hedley and his team of trainers will no doubt have designs on taking out the coveted $150k Cairns Cup set down for August 10. 

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