By Geoff Newling
Cherry Lady looks to be cherry ripe for Tuesday’s $20,000 Allsopp Signs Benchmark 55 Handicap (1200m) at Tamworth. The five-year-old daughter of Zizou comes off a last start fourth to Guilty as Sin over the 1000m at her home Tamworth track to tackle a 1200m sprint against more seasoned horses but her trainer, Craig Martin, believes she has the ability to take another step.
Martin was at Rosehill on Saturday to see Mapmaker run and finish a gallant second to Special Missile. While he transferred the gelding to his brother Tim Martin a couple of months ago, he has celebrated some 'wins' in Sydney. Mapmaker has finished second at his past two metro starts (both to Special Missile) and racing well for a syndicate of owners which also includes Craig and his wife Sharon.
“He’s been racing well down here,” Craig Martin said on Saturday evening while celebrating with Sharon and some Tamworth racing enthusiasts in Sydney for a huge charity raceday that included the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service. “He’s a nice horse we hope will win a few more.”
Whether that be in the city or in some country Cups remains to be seen – and celebrated. It was a good chance for the Martins to holiday in Sydney and then return and prepare for tomorrow’s Tamworth meeting where Craig has just the one runner – Cherry Lady.
The five-year-old mare has had just the two starts for Walcha owner Jill Nivison, a win and a last start fourth at Tamworth: “She is going well too,” Craig Martin said. “The extra 200m suits her and she is on the minimum although she takes on horses who have won a lot more races.”
While she has had just the two starts for one win and $9100 in prizemoney the likes of Victory Lass (10 wins), Gilded Spirit (4) and New Endeavour (4) have all tasted plenty of success in longer careers. It is a big day at Tamworth with nine races with an absorbing feature race in the $20,000 TAB.com.au Tamworth Rush (1000m). While there are just the eight runners it includes Newcastle flyer, Musical Query.
The David Atkins-trained mare is yet to finish out of a place in seven starts and recorded four wins. She has won her last two at Taree (1007m) and Muswellbrook (1000m) and will have a 2kg claim from apprentice Alena Skerritt as well.
Three other female apprentices have rides as well with Nyssa Burrells (Sammi Jain), Chloe Baker (San Sabarto) and Cejay Graham (So You Know) all engaged. Baker will ride the William Wain-trained San Sabarto, an eight-year-old daughter of Any Given Saturday, who won the 2015 Moree Cup.
She had won four races for Stafford and wife Jill and now resumes from a 14 month spell after finishing 13th to All But Gone in last year’s Scone Country Cup.