By Doug Ryan
Port Macquarie six-year-old gelding Explosive Scene has heavy conditions to suit to make it two wins from its past three starts at Taree-Wingham Race Club’s big nine-race card on Friday.
The only query according to trainer Marc Quinn is the step up to the 1600m of the Manning Valley Handicap. Its win two starts back was over 1510m at Port Macquarie on February 11 when the gelding was sixth early before scoring by two lengths.
Explosive Scene was doing its best work late when just under a length second to race rival Don’t Nicme, trained at Port by Tas Morton, over 1450m at Kempsey at its last start. But Quinn believes his gelding should be strong at Taree as he is looking forward to racing the galloper over 1800m on his home track on April 9.
He said Explosive Scene had only been on heavy tracks twice, that being for an 8th in the Country Final at The Championships two years ago and on August 6 when second to Snappy Tom in a Randwick Highway Handicap over 1400m.
There is plenty of depth in Explosive Scene’s race with possibly Newcastle’s Torquay, trained by Paul Perry, nearing a win again after grabbing three in a row at the track prior to a spell. Torquay was doing its best work when fourth at its third run back behind Glitterama over 1600m on a soft 7 surface at Taree last start and is beautifully placed on the limit.
Cessnock five-year-old gelding Zadok The Priest, trained by Robert Davies, has won two races in heavy ground and showed a return to some of its old form with a fourth over 1600m in the $40,000 Quirindi Cup on February 24.
Taree mare Mosgiel Ruby, trained by Matthew Robinson, has a penchant for this track, has won two of its past three starts and could use its wide barrier to advantage if the track proves the worst part on the fence.
Fellow Taree trainer Michael Byers is happy with the form of his seven-year-old grey gelding Clunes Rocket which will have the advantage of a two kilo claim for Jackson Murphy who had one of his biggest wins on Carry On Jake in the $40,000 Armidale Cup over 1900m on Monday.
One of the best wet trackers on the card is Pacific Reign, trained at Newcastle by David Atkins, in the Eddie’s Fresh Chickens Class 3 Handicap over 1400m. It has two wins in three tries on heavy tracks and is nearing top form at its third start back from a spell.
Another with top wet form is Taree filly Valbeata, trained at Taree by Bob Milligan, in the McGraths Meats Class 2 Handicap over 1250m. It ploughed through the mud for a win at Tamworth and last start at Taree was a good fourth to Port colt Cogliere in the Mid North Coast Qualifier for the $400,000 Country Final of The Championships.
Robinson’s Sprite Zah had an emphatic win at the track in heavy ground last start and its tussle with Port filly Artova, a winner at Tuncurry for trainer Neil Godbolt, and Tuncurry gelding Not Doubtful, trained by Terry Evans, should be a highlight in the Manning River Times Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1000m.
SELECTIONS RACE 1: Silver Gums 1, I Am The Fox 2, Android 3. RACE 2: Powercraft 1, Dubai Dusk 2, The Bohemian 3. RACE 3: Commandatore 1, Alot Like Home 2, Naretha 3. RACE 4: Fratellino 1, Princess Pattern 2, Touch Of Flo 3. RACE 5: Pacific Reign 1, Pindara 2, Pinot Gris 3. RACE 6: Explosive Scene 1, Torquay 2, Zadok The Priest 3. RACE 7: Spite Zah 1, Artova 2, Not Doubtful 3. RACE 8: Tawfiq Boy 1, They Call Me Rose 2, Capital Magic 3. RACE 9: Valbeata 1, Gold Torque 2, Macquidez 3.