Armidale racetrack became a fortress of sorts for Paddy Cunningham with the trainer scooping prizemoney meet after meet in the last year.
Cunningham and the star of his stable, Carry On Jake, came and conquered the city’s track and along the way picked up the local jockey club’s pinnacle race, the Armidale Cup.
The Glen Innes trainer was recognised for his feats on the track when he won both The Armidale Express trainer and horse of the year.
“You always work on winning races and I have had a lot of luck here over the years, I have won a couple of Armidale Cups when I was an apprentice jockey,” Cunningham said.
“We were just lucky enough to get a very nice horse who handled the track and he went very good here, won the Cup.
“The other horses have been very hard work with myself and the staff.
It has been a very good year here.”
Carry On Jake has won his last four starts in Armidale, including the Cup.
His form on local tracks has pushed him to the top of the rankings and Cunningham and the owners have set their sights on an even bigger race.
“For me he was a very lovely horse because he hadn’t won a maiden when I first got him,” Cunningham said.
“Now the owner has plans to win the Darwin Cup with him so he’s upped the sights but he is a very nice horse and his bush racing is probably not as good as it should be because his racing has gone through the roof so he nearly has to be a city horse.
“We just hope he can handle the dirt track in Darwin and go there next year.
If they look after him we may try and come back and win the Armidale Cup next year.”
Cunningham snagged a second in Saturday’s meet in Armidale with Skill Set in the first race of the day.