A DEAL brokered over 12 months ago is likely to mean Orange Cup winning jockey Neil Paine will ride handy mare Blow Bubbles in Monday's $20,000 Colour City Cup (1400m).
Trainer Andrew Wardle was '95 per cent sure' he'd accept for Blow Bubbles and had his fingers crossed she'd be treated well by the handicapper, despite being a last-start winner.
That's turned out the case, Blow Bubbles allocated 53kg.
She carried 55kg when winning in open company over 1200m at Cowra on March 20 with Brooke Timmis riding.
Timmis has handled the mare in five of her last seven starts but Wardle explained Paine would be offered the Colour City Cup ride.
"Brooke Timmis has been riding her and riding her really well but we had a bit of a promise with Neil there before he was injured that if he was available he could ride her, he rode her up through the grades and would have been riding her if he didn't get injured," Wardle explained.
Paine was badly injured in race fall around 10 months ago but put it behind him when he rode the Max Crockett-trained King's Consul to victory in the Orange Cup on February 26.
"In saying that, Brooke's done nothing wrong on the horse, it's just going back to the agreement we reached with Neil on the old hospital bed," Wardle said.
Blow Bubbles is the only Orange-trained horse nominated for the Colour City Cup, the feature event on Monday's eight-race TAB program.
Wardle admits she'll have her work cut out for her if the majority of nominations are acceptors.
For example, Kiss My Fuji, from the Canberra stables of Rado Boljun finished third to rising star New Edge at Canberra on March 19.
"At The Show (trained by Cowra's Andrew Molloy) was in the same race, that's all listed company," Wardle said.
"It is (a tough assignment) because she's a little bit suspect at the 1400, although she has won over it. Probably about 1300 would have been ideal," he said.
"But saying that, her full sister's won over 1800, 1900, (Never Sad) so it's horses for courses.
"She deserves to win a good race ... if the handicapper's kind to her."
Hawkesbury trainer Garry White's Force Apollo has been allocated top-weight at 60.5kg for the Cup while stablemate Salgado will carry 59kg.
Kiss My Fuji is next on 58.5 while likely favourite Agua Corriendo, to be ridden by apprentice Clint Lundholm has been allocated 55.5 with At the Show.
The balance is Dracaan (Garry Portelli) 55, Abdication (Myffy Rae) 54, Caught At Dawn (Billy Dwyer), Kara George (Mick Miladinovic), Heavenly Lark (Joan Pracey), Muhayaa's Image (Clarriw Williams), Heliograph (Graham Grimmond) and Irish Knight (Mark Warren) 53kg.