FORMER Gundagai trainer Todd Smart will get another chance to win a Snake Gully Cup he's long coveted after Great Glen coasted to an impressive Tumut Cup win on Saturday.
With plenty of speed up front, veteran jockey Michael Heagney settled the ($7) top weight at the back of the field before he swamped his rivals to beat Craig Weeding's Choice Harvest ($6) by 1.6 lengths, with Doug Gorrel's Southern Gamble ($7) third and Smart's other runner Miss Farloo ($6) in fourth place.
It capped a strong day for Heagney, who also steered Michelle Russell's Tickinover to a narrow win over Boston Ivy in the Class 2 Handicap (1400m).
Smart, based in Canberra for the past three years, praised Heagney's patient ride in the $16,000, 1400m feature and said Great Glen will now work toward November's Snake Gully Cup.
The eight-year-old usually runs between 1600m and 200m but Smart was always confident he would stack up with genuine speed in the race.
"At Tumut they generally do go really hard and it played into his hands," Smart said.
"If they go hard he's always going to be strong at the finish and I told Mick to take his time and that it didn't matter where he was in the field, as long as he balances up on that tight track."
Smart said he looked primed to run well after an eye-catching trial in Canberra last Friday.
Great Glen also won the Cooma Cup in December and took some time to recover from that run.
"He won the Cooma Cup and he won it pretty well, but he jarred up pretty badly after the race and it took him a couple of runs to come good," Smart said.
"He freshened up nicely and we were going into it pretty confident. He was the highest rated horse and was pretty well weighted (60kg) to win the race."
Smart said winning a Snake Gully Cup would be a dream come true, and said Great Glen wouldn't be without a chance should he experience no hiccups in the lead-up.
The Tumut Cup winner earns direct entry into Gundagai's biggest race meet.
"He'll have one or two more wins, have a break and then come back to head toward the Snake Gully Cup," Smart said.
"I've had a runner there before, but we struck a wet track that day and it did no good.
"I think (it can run well) if the race is run at a quick pace.
"This horse is just a country cup horse now, he's getting on in age and those cup races are pretty hard to win, but if conditions suit he'd be hard to beat."
Smart also believes the Tumut Cup deserves to be a TAB meeting in the future. The club staged its first TAB meeting in 19 years last month.
"Those running the joint are doing a good job, I couldn't have been happier with the track and how it was run," Smart said.
"I'd love to see the Tumut Cup become a TAB meeting. I just think they have to because it's the feature day for them."