It's all for fun with Billybougg but he's a serious contender in Moruya Cup

ALTHOUGH he is described as a horse raced just ''for a bit of fun'' by his trainer, Billybougg will go into Monday's $27,000 Moruya Cup (1937 metres) as a genuine contender.

The Keith Dryden-trained seven-year-old comes into the race from a strong showing at the same coastal track 13 days ago.

On that occasion, Billybougg finished third in a blanket finish to Fair Nation in the $27,000 Narooma Cup (1650m).

The step-up in trip on Monday will no doubt suit Billybougg.

He has won 43 per cent of his starts over similar distances. However, Dryden believes a strong race pace is the real key as to whether the Tobougg gelding will be fighting out the finish, or not.

Apprentice jockey Winona Costin has partnered Billybougg in all five of his starts this time in and has once again been engaged to ride the seven-year-old at Moruya, with the pair to jump from the widest alley.


''It's probably better for us [drawing wide] rather than getting caught up in amongst them, because he's such a big-striding horse who needs plenty of room,'' Dryden said.

''He got home pretty well last start, and Winona [Costin] was able to get him to the outside where he seems to do his best.

''He'll get well back again, and hopefully get to the outside again, and finish off.

''It's the same sort of thing as the other day. If there's pace on, he'll finish well.''

Billybougg ran a solid race in last year's $200,000 Canberra Cup (2000m) where he finished fifth at $71 odds to fellow Canberra- based galloper Fill The Page.

With this year's Canberra Cup only seven weeks away, Dryden is unsure as to whether he will give the seven-year-old another tilt at the listed event.

''We'll see how he's going [closer to the race]. We only race him for a bit of fun,'' the Canberra trainer said.

''He races when there's a race on [that suits him], so we don't aim him at anything in particular.

''We just poke him around and he picks up a bit of prizemoney here and there.''

The only other Canberra-trained galloper to watch out for in the feature race at Moruya is the Norm Gardner-trained Shout it Out.

Although the Alert mare appears a lesser chance of victory than Billybougg, the four-year-old has winning form on her side, having saluted the judge three times in her past nine starts.