Prized Cup in owner's sights
HE ALWAYS wears a hat and has enough cups to host a tea party.
But unlike the character in Alice in Wonderland, this mad-hatter is strictly non-fictional. This is Greg Nash, owner of serial cup-collecting galloper Surety.
In the pool room at his Coopers Shoot property, Mr Nash hordes all the goodies a racing and sports lover dreams about.
Retro footy jerseys, old pub mirrors, race-finish photos.
Then there are the Cups his favourite horse Surety has won. There are two Byron Bay Cups, a Kyogle Cup, a Lennox Head Cup and a Bangalow Cup – almost the full set. But there is one piece of silverware Mr Nash wants to add to his collection – a Ballina Cup.
And today Surety gets his chance to do just that.
“It would be very exciting to win,” Mr Nash said. “The Ballina Cup is the heavyweight championship of the Ballina season, so winning one would be pretty special.”
There is a strong field of Cup horses that Surety needs to conquer, but the seven-year-old, who is notorious for missing the start, will cause himself as many problems as his rivals, Mr Nash said.
“He has more tricks than Harry Houdini, this old boy,” he said.
Just like that cheeky grandfather or uncle that everyone has, Surety likes to push the boundaries.
“He has gotten into a habit of missing the start – but they get like that sometimes, these old geldings,” he said.
Mr Nash, who grows peaches and nectarines for a living, has had a finger in the racing pie for most of his adult life.
He has owned gallopers with Hall of Fame trainer Bart Cummings and his son Anthony, who prepared dual city winner Cashout for Mr Nash.
But nothing beats winning the big races on his local country tracks.
“We have won a few city races and as exciting as that is, I get a bigger thrill winning the local Cup races,” he said.
And his favourite win?
“Would have to be when Surety won the Bangalow Cup in 2008,” he said.
“I live in Bangalow and a lot of people from the town had something on him that day and he saluted the judge for us all.”
Win or lose, the hatter and his galloper will be sharing in the celebration today that is Ballina Cup day.
For punters keen to get the races and avoid the crowds, the Ballina Jockey Club will have free buses running to and from the course.