By Rod Fuller
Lightly-raced mare Super Tonic looks set to send twilight punters home content as the January carnival of racing continues at Port Macquarie this Friday.
After an impressive debut-winning performance in record time over 810 metres at Coffs Harbour in June, the Supreme Class galloper won a Class 1 before going to the big smoke in a Highway Event.
Despite being beaten into seventh place by Another Sin at Rosehill on that occasion in August, she comes to the track with strong credentials in the final event on the program.
Former Country Trainer of the Year, Brett Bellamy, puts the polish on the striking chestnut and it is reasonable to assume that she would be forward enough to be well up to the mark despite the lack of an official barrier trail outing.
The consistent Sepae looks the hardest to beat following a win at Port during the October Cup carnival and an even fourth at his home track before being turned out for a short break.
The race is named in honour of Panthers Group CEO, Brian Fletcher, who has been a dominant figure in NSW racing for many years after successful stints at Coonamble and a wonderful association with Hawkesbury Race Club.
In other events on the card, La Biere Choisie looks the testing material in the Benchmark 53 Handicap following a narrow win at Scone a couple of weeks ago. The Kris Lees-trained Choisir filly’s main danger looks to be Commandatore, who has been placed at his last two appearances at Scone and Taree.
Astute Grafton-based trainers Dwayne Schmidt and John Shelton are making their way down the highway and have strong chances in multiple events on the card with the promise of holiday cheer for followers.
An interesting runner on the program is in race four when Wayne Wilkes presents the Casino Prince mare, Lucciola Belle back to racing despite a spell of three months. After a narrow second on debut in May followed by a win at Taree in June, she hasn’t been sighted since a creditable second at Port in October behind Sepae. With Chloe Baker engaged to ride and if anywhere near right, Lucciola Belle should be very competitive in the Class 1 over 1206 metres.
The twilight action commences at 2.03pm with $160,000 in prizemoney on offer and a reminder that Panthers members gain free admission to the track. The club would like to acknowledge the fantastic sponsorship and support provided by Port Macquarie Panthers and encourage members of both clubs to utilise reciprocal venues.
The meeting continues the January carnival of racing for the club and the excellent catering, wagering and bar facilities together with spacious lawns will be in full operation.
Children will be fully entertained with the jumping castle and face painting available with free buses running from Gordon Street and Tacking Point Shops at each race meeting in January. The culmination of holiday action is on Australia Day with the running of the $60,000 Queen of the North Handicap, one of the prestigious events on the club’s calendar.
Race 1 (Panthers Port Macquarie Benchmark 73 Hcp, 1506m): 3 Hippy High Ho, 4 Backhouse Billy, 6 My Cousin Jackie
Race 2 (Kove @ Port Panthers Maiden Plate, 1812m): 5 King of Monaco, 7 Ticket to Fly, 1 Albert of Monaco
Race 3 (Panthers Sportsman’s Lunch E&G Maiden Plate, 1206m): 3 My Lucky Eagle, 6 Apollo Eagle, 9 Septango
Race 4 (The Tapp @ Port Panthers F&M Maiden Plate, 1206m): 3 Natural Image, 11 Jessie Prevails, 6 Valley Crossing
Race 5 (Panthers Valentine’s Day Singles Party 14/2 Class 1 Hcp, 1206m): 1 Unbridled Power, 4 Lucciola Belle, 9 Nashian
Race 6 (Australia Day @ Port Panthers 26/1 Benchmark 55 Hcp, 2012m): 1 Time to Rock, 3 Towkash, 12 Golden Words
Race 7 (Panthers $10,000 Members Draw Thurs & Fri BM 53 Hcp, 1506m): 4 La Biere Choisie, 1 Commandatore, 5 Solicitation
Race 8 (Brian Fletcher Class 2 Hcp, 1006m): 5 Super Tonic, 1 Sepae, 2 Magic Arli