It’s been 35 years since Bruce Kay last tasted cup success, but Sheikh It will give the experienced trainer a shot at ending his drought in Broome’s biggest race on Saturday.
Kay has trained gallopers for more than 40 years, winning two Pinjarra Cups and providing champion jockey Damien Oliver with his first career victory at Bunbury in 1988.
The now 69-year-old, who also pre-trained for WA Racing Hall of Fame trainer Lou Luciani for 20 years, has been a regular on the Broome racing circuit in recent times.
“In the early days I had a lot of good horses and won the Pinjarra Cup in 1985 and 1987,” Kay said.
“I haven’t had one good enough since then.
“I’m a bit of a late starter to Broome, but coming up here breaks it up for me.”
Kay bought Sheikh It, a dual Belmont Park winner for trainer Darren McAuliffe, for $20,000 in an Inglis online sale last year with the $100,000 Broome Cup (2200m) his long-term aim.
The Universal Ruler gelding recorded a win and two seconds from his first three starts on Broome’s picturesque dirt track, but was a beaten favourite when ninth in the Kimberley Cup (2020m) last start.
Kay said Sheikh It had excuses and can bounce back in the Broome Cup.
“He was a bit tardy out of the gates and was off the track,” Kay said.
“Hopefully he jumps with them this time and can sit in the first half of the field.
“I couldn’t be happier with the horse and luck in running will play a big part.
“He won and ran second from barrier seven for me, so seven might be an omen.”
Jerry Noske will ride Sheikh It, who jumps from barrier seven and is a $16 chance.
Blackwater Bay is the $2.65 favourite for trainer Rob Gulberti, who has won the Broome Cup with Desert Glow (2015) and Staaden (2021).
Western Knight, the little brother of Group 1 star Western Empire, was an impressive maiden winner at Northam on Thursday for trainer Adam Durrant.