By Geoff Newling
RACE 1: REDRAW broke through to snare a welcome win on what might be of his more favoured tracks when he scooted home over top of his opposition in today’s $30,000 Luke Groggs 3YO Maiden Plate Showcase (1400m). The Glen Innes-trained gelding son of Tickets powered home to beat the Craig Martin-trained Vineyard with Paul Perry’s Keeva third. Paddy Cunningham trains Redraw for a number of Glen Innes and Armidale owners. He was having ninth start today and coming off a close second to stablemate, Press Reset, in a 1400m maiden race at Glen Innes at the recent Glen Innes Cup meeting. “He might have done us a favour,” Paddy Cunningham said of Press Reset and the fact today’s race was worth more than treble in prizemoney being a $30,000 Showcase race. Redraw has always “promised to do that”, Glen Innes-based Cunningham said after the flashing victory. “Just been a young, green horse,” he said. “But he goes good here, run some of his best races here, run a couple of good fourths here as well so I’ll keep bringing him back.” That might be after a spell though. “Probably send him for a break,” he reckoned. Craig Martin, trainer of the runner-up, Vineyard will press ahead with his gelding son of Bernardini. “It was a brave run,” he said of a three-year-old having his third start and who had to do plenty of work from his alley before taking the lead from Keeva entering the Tamworth straight.
RACE 2: KING Solomon led all the way to win at Tamworth today and hand his Tamworth trainer a winning boost into her first metropolitan foray on Saturday. The Michelle Fleming-trained King Solomon led all the way to register his first win in the CHH Edge Form Showcase Maiden Handicap (1600m). He beat Carmen Murnane’s Lilac Wine by a length and a quarter with Sally Torrens’s Stoke It Up a half-length away third. Michelle Fleming trains King Solomon for a syndicate of owners spread from Baradine across the countryside. She has had him since he first barrier trialled in Victoria and seen him develop nicely. He has developed really nicely, very happy with him,” Michelle Fleming said after his 12th race start and first win. She said the four-year-old gelding son of Equiano “can switch off” in races. “Got to keep riding him but he always kicks strongly,” she said. He is thriving at her Kootingal stable and property and part of an in-form octet of horses headed by Sydney hopeful The Lion. “He’s in the Highway at Rosehill on Saturday,” Michelle said. “A very big step for me, my first Sydney runner. I’m very nervous. Going to be a really good experience for me and a great opportunity.” She said Chris O’Brien will ride but The Lion has drawn awkwardly in barrier 9. The Lion won his maiden at last year’s Walcha cup meeting and won at Scone as well. “He trialled well at Gunnedah the other day and going well.”
RACE 3: ADVALADY made light of a bad barrier to snare a maiden win in today’s $40,000 Kelley Covey Engineers Tamworth Country Showcase Maiden Plate (1200m) at Tamworth. The Bob Milligan-trained three-year-old daughter of Ad Valorem also made light of the long trip across the ranges from Taree to convert the 18 barrier into a one and three quarter length victory over Rod Northam’s The Debater with second emergency, Swift Charger, a half-length away third. Jake Pracey-Holmes, who rode the previous winner, King Solomon, was on the mark again and received major accolades from Glenn Milligan, son of Bob Milligan. “It was a good win, we drew the outside,” Glenn Milligan said. “Jake rode her very well. He went forward instead of sitting three deep.” It was a winning move as Advalady repelled all challengers down the running. “She’s improved every run,” Glenn Milligan added. “Also had to travel in the heat and we won’t be home before 10 tonight. It was a good race to win as well with the BOBS Bonus on top.” He said his father’s horses have always “had a bit of luck over here”. “We weren’t sure today after three of the four horses we brought over drew outside 10.”
RACE 4: MANABAR kept his unbeaten record for his new Tamworth stable when he pounced on his opponents to win today’s $30,000 Hunter Pods Class 2 Showcase Handicap (1000m). The former Queenslander, now prepared by Cody Morgan, was having his second start for his Tamworth trainer when he zoomed home for a half-length success from Rod Northam’s Don’t Doubt Her while Jan Bowen’s Miss Fisher was short head away third. Manabar had debuted for Cody Morgan at Quirindi in a Boxing Day Class 1 Handicap win at Quirindi. That was five-year-old gelding’s first run back from a five-month spell and the son of Manhattan Rain rivalled that four-length win with an imposing effort for Courtney van der Werf today. “He did win well at Quirindi,” Cody Morgan said. “That was his first run for us. He drew the one today and ran very well . It was a very good ride too.” The half-brother to talented Melbourne sprinter Property had been running over longer distances up north but Cody intends to keep him to the sprint journeys down here. “We changed everything up when we got him,” he said. Cody hopes the win launches a winning year after injury affected 2017.