By Doug Ryan
Five-year-old Gosford mare Kopite, a winner at its last start at Bushland Drive Racecourse, Taree, will again prove hard to beat in the Harrington Hotel Harrington Cup at Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting on Thursday.
The mare scooted to a 2.25-length win over 1250m on December 5 and should be suited by the 1300m of the cup at a track she has had three outings for a win and two placings. Winning jockey Josh Adams took advantage of the pace before the turn to move up three-wide from a rearward position to then put the pedal down for an impressive win.
The mare rises 1.5kg in the handicap and meets some of her rivals again but will have Aaron Bullock as her jockey this time. Kopite has finished a 1.21-length fourth to Barbeque over 1350m at Wyong since the win but wasn’t well served due to a wide barrier.
Trainer Adam Duggan said due to the outside barrier Kopite raced "a little closer than normal". “Only her toughness got her into the picture at the finish.” He said his mare’s only drawback was “her fair share of weight” this time.
Most of her dangers appear to be from provincial stables, one being Gosford five-year-old gelding Deangelo, trained by Kylie Gavenlock, the horse having resumed from a spell for a fifth (beaten 3.1 lengths) to Bonita, a multiple winner at this track, over 1100m at Scone. Gavenlock said the race was “too short” and the 1300m of the cup was more suitable. “My horse has just been beaten at Taree a few times and any sting out of the ground will help.”
The trainer of Bonita, Newcastle’s Jason Deamer, has five-year-old gelding Buon Natale resuming in this race with handy 3kg-claiming apprentice jockey Louise Day in the saddle. “My horse has had a jump out and plenty of work ... he can run well fresh,” he said.
Veteran Port Macquarie trainer Margaret De Goneville is expecting a good run from her six-year-old gelding Gold Beret which was the subject of interference when fifth last start: “He is only small but he tries. He likes Taree and can handle a bit of a soft track.”
Port trainer Neil Godbolt with Forever Alone and Harnova and Taree trainers Matthew Robinson with mare Mosgiel Ruby and Wayne Wilkes with Fuel add plenty of depth to the most open race.
An interesting clash comes in the L J Hooker Real Estate & Harrigans Irish Tavern F & M Benchmark 57 Handicap over 1000m with Wauchope mare Can’t Skate, trained by Colt Prosser, coming up against its former trainer, Taree’s Greg Drury, who has Hebrides Maneuver in the race.
Drury won a couple of races with Can’t Skate before its previous owners Keith Porter and Lucy Gordon bought her back to be a broodmare. But Prosser was so impressed with her condition that he put her back into racing and in five starts for him she has won at Bundarra, Coffs Harbour and Bowraville to put some value into her when she is a broodmare: “She has bloomed and is flying in her trackwork,” Prosser said.
As for Hebrides Maneuver, Drury said his filly may be small but has plenty of ticker and “is ready to go.” It may be a little late for a season omen, but expected to go well by Deamer is Christmas Cheer in the Club Harrington CG & E Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1000m.