Trainer Paddy Cunningham has collected cups throughout region

AT THE TRACK: Despite some grey skies and the odd shower, more than 2000 people were trackside for the Armidale Cup race meeting on Monday.
AT THE TRACK: Despite some grey skies and the odd shower, more than 2000 people were trackside for the Armidale Cup race meeting on Monday.

Glen Innes, Deepwater, Guyra and Armidale.

This is not the itinenary of a tourist making their way through the New England region, but the country Cups trainer Paddy Cunningham has collected since the start of the year.

The Glen Innes horseman extended a touch even Midas would be proud of when favourite Carry On Jake bolted in to comfortably take out the $40,000 McDonalds Armidale Cup (1900m) on Monday.

Paddy Cunningham

Paddy Cunningham

Cunningham boasts a rich history with the race, winning it twice as a jockey and now has his first as a trainer.

"I've had good runs (as a trainer), when we were at Caloundra and winning races in Brisbane now and then," Cunningham said.

"But this is the first time I've had a really good run at the Cups.

"It's enormous (to win an Armidale Cup), but Guyra Cup is probably nearly there because I was a Guyra boy basically."

Carry On Jake completed the Guyra-Armidale Cup double to take his career record to five wins from 19 starts.

Cunningham admitted to being wary whether his charge would handle the sodden conditions, but the upgrade from a Heavy 9 track rating to Soft 7 by Cup time certainly suited the $4.40 favourite.

"His full brother (Carry On Glory) ran third in a Group One as a two-year-old on an absolute quagmire behind Reigning To Win and Danleigh," he said.

"This bloke can handle it half-wet, but we were more hopeful than confident he would do it."

So what's next for the emerging stayer?

Cunningham will take some time to enjoy this success before contemplating future assignments.

"Today was the culmination of the whole preparation," he said.

"We set him for one run, then into the Guyra Cup and the Armidale Cup. That was always the plan.

"We'll see what happens."

Scone hobby trainer Brian Jenkinson had a great thrill with Packen, a $21 shot, rattling home to run second, beaten 3 1/4 lengths and Settle The Future ($8) for Greg Bennett rounding out the trifecta.

He's Dreamin ($12) finished fourth ahead of Lonely Orphan ($5), Secret Web ($5), Kingston Time ($17), Go Dragon ($13), New Divide ($7) and Dubali ($10).

Hunter Jack and Elegies, both of whom would have been key chances in the feature, were scratched on race morning due to the heavy track.

Despite the odd light shower, conditions were comfortable for spectators with an estimated crowd of more than 2000 people in attendance.