By Doug Ryan
Port Macquarie Cup and Prelude winner Sofin returns to the scene of her glory in the $32,000 Wauchope RSL Club Wauchope Cup (1512m) at Port Macquarie Racecourse on Sunday.
Trainer Shannon Fry has the six-year-old mare “working well” to add to her four wins at the track from nine starts at Wauchope Jockey Club’s eight-race TAB meeting.
She hasn’t raced since a fifth at Rosehill on March 18 but has won fresh in the past.
A win on Sunday will give her automatic entry to the $50,000 South Grafton Cup over 1600m at Grafton on July 9, a race in which she was second last year.
“She was beaten a nose and should have won at Grafton,” Fry said. In the start before she beaten just under a half-length by Newcastle’s Parraay in the Wauchope Cup at the first meeting at the $3.7 million reconstructed Port Macquarie track.
She has to carry more weight this time after having such a wonderful campaign which won her about $150,000 of her nearly $272,000 prizemoney.
“It was a sensational campaign, she is always competitive and honest,” Fry said.
He toyed with the idea of setting her for the $160,000 Grafton Cup over 2350m but decided against it following an interrupted preparation due to the big wet.
He had booked her in for a barrier trial at Grafton last week but it was abandoned due to the wet weather.
“There is nothing like match fitness but she always runs well fresh.”
Wyong four-year-old gelding Mr McBat, trained by Damien Lane, only has to handle the heavy conditions to be a top chance following his easy win in the Wingham Cup at Taree on June 2.
Jockey Ben Looker was so enthusiastic about the win, although incurring the wrath of stewards with a short outing for careless riding over the concluding stages, that he wanted the mount again, especially for the South Grafton Cup.
Mr McBat can be slow away but once motoring can be placed to advantage and has plenty of scope to keep improving.
A lot of the form for several gallopers is based on their runs in the Wingham Cup over 1600m and one that didn’t shirk its task in being handy all the way before running second was Dubbo six-year-old gelding Our Sarastro, trained by Connie Greig.
The gelding is overdue for a change of luck after a third in the Cowra Cup and a second in the Parkes Cup before its second at Taree.
Port Macquarie trainer Tas Morton believes his six-year-old gelding Star Of Legs wasn’t afforded much hope of being in the Taree finish after missing the start by three lengths.
“The field slowed and my horse was about 15 lengths from the leader before they sped up,” he said.
“It was a forgive run due to pilot error.
“He is bucking his brand off and is suited on his home track.”
Port Macquarie trainer Marc Quinn believes the wet track and distance suits admirably for his six-year-old gelding Explosive Scene which won at the track six starts back.
Quinn and his apprentice jockey, now leading Sydney apprentice Andrew Adkins, won the Wauchope Cup with Storm Ahead three years ago.
Taree trainer Michael Byers said the wide barrier was the undoing of his six-year-old mare Who Is Game which finished third in the Wingham Cup.
“She had to be used up early to get handy but on Sunday she is ready to go,” he said.
Grafton mare Cash Spinner, trained by John Shelton, should be ready to show her true form that led to Kempsey and Casino Cup wins last year after two resuming runs.