By Rod Fuller
Flushed with success following the outstanding win by Pirate Ben in last Sunday’s Taree Cup, popular Wyong trainer Damien Lane looks to have a couple of strong claims on Camden Haven Cup Day at Port Macquarie this Saturday.
The Lane stable put the polish on the Reward For Effort gelding Neon Jungle who is resuming from a spell of almost five months in the Camden Haven Cup. When last in work, the 4yo was responsible for a good win over Sand Wedge at Tamworth in March followed by a close 2nd at Narromine.
The testing material looks to be the Joanne Hardy-trained galloper Written Song who has won two from her last three appearances and has a distinct liking for the Port Macquarie circuit. There was a great deal to like about the Written Tycoon mare’s last start win at Casino two weeks ago and with a record of 11 starts for 3 wins and 3 placings, the horse should be very hard to defeat.
Damien Lane’s other main hope on the card is the consistent gelding Eyota in the Maiden Handicap while the Joanne Hardy stable has a strong chance with Weavered and Glowing Feeling in race 5.
Popular Tuncurry mentor, Terry Evans looks to have a couple of real chances on the program and following his recent success at Taree in the Lightning Stakes with Arise Augustus last week, the stable is certainly firing at the moment. His main hopes look to be the last start Taree winner The Free World in the opening race and the consistent gelding Svavarsson in the last.
It would not be a Port Macquarie program without the influence of leading trainer Kris Lees who has many strong hopes engaged throughout the day.
An interesting runner in the opening race is the debutante Exellas who has been impressive in two barrier trials placings at Gosford and Newcastle. The former Victorian mare Tokelau looks hard to beat in the second following a solid last start placing at Tamworth and the lightly-raced Jardine will prove hard to beat in the fifth event.
A highlight of Saturday’s racing action is the presentation of the Mid North Coast Racing Association awards for season 2016-2017. After a stellar period, prominent Newcastle trainer Kris Lees won the local trainers' premiership with 43 wins from Neil Godbolt 21 and Paul Perry on 13. It capped off an amazing racing year for the Lees stable which resulted in winning the country state title with 83 winners.
In a keenly contested battle, the Mid North Coast’s leading jockey was Andrew Gibbons with 31 wins from Peter Graham 29 and Ben Looker on 25. The leading apprentice jockey for the season in the association was Chloe Baker with 20 winners from Jackson Murphy and Mikayla Weir dead-heating for 2nd with 8 first placings.
With 14 starts for 4 wins, including success in a TAB Highway at Randwick and the Mid North Coast heat of the Country Championship, the Mark Quinn-trained Cogliere scored the prize as Horse of the Year. The Pluck gelding earned over $150,000 in prizemoney for connections and was ridden to success in the two feature races this season by promising Port Macquarie apprentice, Andrew Adkins.
It is significant to note that Cogliere is engaged in a barrier trial at the conclusion of the day with the ultimate aim being a start at Randwick in the $200,000 Anniversary Highway on The Everest Day in October.
Special commendation to Andrew Adkins who received the Theo Green Award as Sydney’s leading apprentice at the recent NSW Racehorse Owners Association Nights of Champions. Spending most of his life around Port Macquarie Racetrack under the watchful eye of his father Brett, who was a handy jockey and track manager at the circuit, as well as having racing bloodlines through his mum and grandfather together with leading trainer, Tony Vasil as an uncle, racing was destined to be his career.
Now under the guidance of former champion jockey and now astute trainer Ron Quinton, continued success is anticipated for the accomplished local prospect.
The Camden Haven community has thrown its continued support behind this meeting and the club acknowledges the sponsorship of Laurieton United Services Club, Big A+ Laurieton Plumbing & Bathroom Supplies, Laurieton Residential Resort, Camvet, Camden Haven Courier and Club North Haven.
The first race on the 6 race program is at 1.31pm and full catering, bar and wagering operations will be available in the club’s award winning facilities.
SELECTIONS RACE 1 (Big A+ Laurieton Plumbing & Bathroom Supplies Class 1 Hcp, 1010m): 2. The Free World, 6.Exellas, 1.Smart Ali
RACE 2 (Laurieton Residential Resort Maiden Hcp, 1110m): 1. Tokelau, 4.Eyota, 6.Lord Foz RACE 3 (Laurieton United Services Club Camden Haven Cup, 1210m): 2. Written Song, 3.Neon Jungle, 4.Gold Beret RACE 4 (Canvet Class 1 & Maiden Plate, 2020m): 5. Gallant Girl, 2.Prospect Road, 9.Sebring Flyer RACE 5 (Camden Haven Courier Maiden Plate, 1512m): 9. Jardine, 1.Mallaco Princess, 10.Weavered RACE 6 (Club North Haven Benchmark 47, 1512m): 5. Pat’s Destiny, 1.Unattainable, 7.Svavarsson