By Grahame Timbrell
Tas Morton is a fan of the adjustments to the handicapping system introduced by Racing NSW particularly as it applies to Star Of Legs, top weight for the Dayne Maloney/Todd Bates @ McGrath Benchmark 70 (1500m) at Port Macquarie on Saturday.
The six-year-old, which is in great form, will carry 59kgs, the same weight he carried when third in an open handicap at Armidale mid-way through last month.
“Under the old system he would have had 62.5kgs for this race and I would have been on the phone to the handicapper complaining,” Morton said. “This is much fairer because it allows these older, well performed horses to continue racing and remain competitive.”
Morton plans to send the horse out for a freshen up after this race and set him for the Walcha Cup (1440m) on February 10.
Star Of Legs is owned by long time Walcha grazier “Gabby” Wauch.
“I said to Gabby after he won at Ballina that we should put him away and get him ready for the Walcha Cup because it was his sixth run in about seven weeks,” Morton said.
“However, the horse continued to thrive so I put than plan aside and we went to the Coffs Harbour Cup instead.
“He did so well after that I took him to Armidale and it was a huge run.
“He is going to need a break sometime and the Walcha Cup is a race Gabby would love to win so after this race it will be time to let him have a short break.”
Star Of Legs was probably out of his depth at Coffs Harbour, running 10th, but at Armidale he raced in third place to the turn, hit the lead in the straight and was only caught near the line.
“Dropping back to 1500 metres is ideal for him,” Morton said.
While Star Of Legs carries top weight the well performed Zombie Queen, at the bottom of the weights on 54kgs, tackles Benchmark 70 company for the first time. She has developed into a mare that is also thriving on racing and this will be her 12th successive start in a campaign that has yielded two wins at Lismore and one each at Port Macquarie and Eagle Farm.
Ben Looker has been her regular rider, was aboard for her Eagle Farm win in mid-week company at her latest run and is back aboard for this race.
1-1.31, SCHWEPPES MAIDEN, 1800m: PARNOSSOS 1, Yabulu Lad 2, Ride To Redemption 3, The Free World 4. 2-2.06, AMARI APARTMENTS BENCHMARK 55, 1500m: SEPAE 1, Fox Creek 2, Triple Oh 3, Ibelieveinmiracles 4. 3-2.41, DAYNE MALONEY/TODD BATES @MCGRATH BENCHMARK 70, 1500m: STAR OF LEGS 1, Zombie Queen 2, High Dreamer 3, Clunes Rocket 4. 4-3.16, CARLTON MID MAIDEN, 1200m: HEROINE 1, Noble Ethics 2, Eat The Rich 3, Jaded Dreams 4. 5-3.55, ARROWFIELD BENCHMARK 55, 2000m: LABROOKE 1, Aldous 2, Lobban Dynamite 3, Towkash 4. 6-4.35, DAVID GEARY @ MCGRATH ESTATE AGENTS CLASS TWO, 1000m: MAGIC ARLI 1, Jemily 2, Neretva 3, Alsoadamas 4. 7-5.15, GROWERS MARKET CLASS ONE, 1200m: SAM’S OSCAR 1, Our Girl Charlie 2, Capital Magic 3, Swift Reply 4. Best Bets: Parnossos, Magic Arli.