By Rod Fuller
Followers of the Kris Lees stable look set to reap rewards as racing returns to the Port Macquarie track on Master Builders Association Raceday this Friday.
Taking advantage of the riding skills provided by promising stable apprentice, Louise Day and experienced riders, Andrew Gibbons and Aaron Bullock, the partnerships have many prominent chances spread throughout the afternoon on an interesting eight-race card.
Ten Carat looks the standout in the opening event following an encouraging win in a barrier trial at the Beaumont Newcastle Track last week with sound performances on the provincial circuit when previously in work.
The Fastnet Rock gelding has drawn a wide barrier but is in a suitable race and will be advantaged by his normal pattern of settling in a prominent position.
The main danger looks to be Paper Talk from the Coffs Harbour yard of Brett Bellamy, who was responsible for a sound run at her home track last week while an improved performance is expected from Swift Charger.
Dreamy Belle will be aided by Louise Day’s claim for Kris Lees in the second race and is backing up from an impressive win on the track recently over Patriot, who has good prospects in the following race.
The event provides a great deal of interest with In Good Time, God I’m Hot, All About Charlie, Taken by Chance and I’ll Take the Money all having real chances of providing a very competitive spectacle.
The Day and Lees combination join forces in the Maiden Handicap with the last start Tuncurry placegetter, All Too Soft, but the filly will face stiff opposition in the shape of the consistent Michael O’Neill trained gelding, Wolfgram, and Eagleworks from the Paul Perry stable.
With the prospect of So You Merge electing to contest the 1500 metre journey of the Class 3, the stage is set for Hi Caliber to provide the testing material in the Benchmark 54 Handicap over the middle distance for the Lees stable. The Pour Moi gelding’s success at Taree in February on heavy ground was full of merit and his form prior at Muswellbrook and Tamworth were much better than the form guides presented.
Robert Thompson accepts the ride on Suggestapartner with the grey gelding running a creditable third at Muswellbrook upon resuming from a break, while Southern Delight is backing up from a recent win at Tuncurry and has a real chance.
So You Merge comes into the seventh event with sound claims utilising Louise Day’s claim following a last start win over Flinders Dragon at Port in early March, with Toast and Ticket to Fly providing strong competition. The chestnut gelding from the Grafton of Scott Henley, Hotel Drive, is the interesting runner in the final event on the card following a tie back operation since his last start placing at Coffs Harbour in October 2017.
The procedure seemed to be successful following an impressive win in a barrier trial at Grafton last week by around a length over Camillo and Doctor Zed. With the benefit of the treatment and encouraging performances when previously in work, the Hotel Grand gelding looks to have a strong opportunity for success over the last start Coffs Harbour winner, Archytas.
Following the disappointment regarding Awesome Pluck and Portatorio being ruled out by veterinary officials in the lead-up to the $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championships Final at Randwick on Saturday April 7th, the Jenny Graham establishment could be provided some consolation when Let’s Rebelle contests the Maiden Plate. The Rebel Raider filly will derive a great deal of benefit from an encouraging debut second at her home track in early March when narrowly defeated by Kailis Pearl.
The club is delighted to continue the great association with the Oxley Division of the Master Builders Association and acknowledge the support of Stowe Australia, Better Solar Energy, Kennards Hire, Petrie’s Mitre 10, Hanson, Sovereign Hills and JBL Glass. The outstanding facilities of the Ivan Livermore Grandstand will be in full operation for Friday’s racing action and all catering, bar and wagering arrangements are fully undercover.
Racing action commences at 1.07pm with the final event on an eight-race program scheduled to start at 5.25pm Easter racing continues at Port Macquarie on Saturday 31st March with a seven-event program comprehensively covered by the TAB and highlighted by a $20,000 Open Handicap over 1200m.
Race 1 (Hanson Maiden Hcp, 1000m):1 Ten Carat, 8 Paper Talk, 10 Swift Charger
Race 2 (Kennards Hire F&M CL2 Hcp, 1100m): 1 Dreamy Belle, 2 In Good Time, 3 God I’m Hot
Race 3 (Petrie’s Mitre 10 CG&E CL2 Hcp, 1100m): 1 Patriot, 3 Doctor Zed, 4 Golden Comet
Race 4 (JBL Glass Maiden Hcp, 1500m): 4 Wolfgram, 1 Eagleworks, 3 All Too Soft
Race 5 (Sovereign Hills Maiden Plate, 1200m): 10 Let’s Rebelle, 3 Gold Codes, 13 Twisterfox
Race 6 (Better Solar Energy BM 54 Hcp, 2000m): 2 Hi Caliber, 4 Suggestapartner, 7 Southern Delight
Race 7 (Master Builders Association Oxley Division CL3 Hcp, 1500m): 8 So You Merge (Dual Acceptor), 9 Toast, 7 Ticket to Fly
Race 8 (Stowe Australia BM 65 Hcp, 1000m): 5 Hotel Drive, 1 Archytas, 8 Cheljoe