Spirit Ridge chasing Cup redemption

Spirit Ridge is ready to produce a peak performance in the Wagga Gold Cup.

SPIRIT RIDGE winning the January Cup
SPIRIT RIDGE winning the January Cup Picture: Martin King / Sportpix

Mark Newnham is banking on a different preparation yielding a different result when Spirit Ridge attempts to go one better than his runner-up finish in last year's Wagga Cup. 

Usually an on-pace runner, Spirit Ridge settled worse than midfield when coming back in journey from a Sydney Cup tilt in the 2021 renewal and while he finished resolutely, he was unable to reel in eventual winner Inverloch

This autumn, Newnham has kept him to middle-distances and he heads to Friday's showpiece off a last-start fourth in the Easter Cup (2000m) at Caulfield and still on an upward spiral. 

"He's going in there on fresh legs," Newnham said. 

"He had a couple of runs on the heavy when he resumed, which he didn't really appreciate but he ran a much better race at Caulfield the other day getting back on good ground. 

"He is ready to peak now." 

The Wagga Cup is one of the qualifying races for The Big Dance, a new race being run at Randwick on Melbourne Cup day for eligible Country Cups winners. 

Even with the early scratching of 2019 Victoria Derby winner Warning, a handy field has been assembled including Villiers Stakes victor Brutality and import Numerian, who turned in his best Australian performance when second in the JRA Plate last start. 

Chris Waller has won two of the past four Wagga Cups and saddles up last-start Randwick winner Irish Sequel and the lightly-raced Aleas on Friday. 

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