By Geoff Newling
Barry Lockwood returns to Port Macquarie this week hoping to win Friday’s $150,000 Carlton Draught Port Macquarie Cup (2000m) with his Lismore Cup-winning gelding, Skytrek.
The trainer spent nine years in Port before relocating north to Brisbane and building a successful training operation in Queensland. So successful that he has launched raids south in recent weeks that have netted him the Ballina and Lismore Cups with Cashing Up and Skytrek.
Skytrek also won a 1900m race at Ballina the same day Cashing Up won the Ballina Cup and Lockwood made the 2.5 hour trip down to Lismore three weeks later to win the $60,000 Lismore Cup with Skytrek. That was two weeks ago.
On Friday, Lockwood has Skytrek in a Port Macquarie Cup he knows will be much tougher with the likes of the Chris Waller-trained topweight Loving Home and the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott-trained Social Element running.
“It’s just a matter of whether he can step up to that grade,” Barry Lockwood said. “He’s done well since Lismore, is bright as a button. He’s drawn well (3) and will have Paul King aboard for the first time."
While Lockwood knows it will be a tough assignment, he would like to win the Cup he had hoped to win when he was based on the Mid North Coast.
“I cannot ever remember having a starter actually,” Barry Lockwood said. “I flew down here the other day for Melinda Graham’s wedding and then drove back down with the horses. Everyone will be thinking I’m back here.”
It was a quick joke that also showed his connection to Port Macquarie although he will be in Sydney with his Derby hopeful – Surprise Bullet. A three-year-old chestnut colt by Bullet Train, Surprise Bullet has won just once in five starts. That win was at the Gold Coast, when he won an 1800m maiden at his last outing.
“He’s a nice colt,” Barry Lockwood said of a colt who will run in Saturday’s $500,000 Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m). “We’ll see if he’s up to the grade. If not he will go for a break but if he is and pulls up well we’ll go south (Melbourne) with him. He’s nominated for the Derby.”
So heading south to Port Macquarie on Wednesday was a double-pronged mission. It gave Skytrek every chance to be ready for tomorrow’s Port Macquarie Cup while allowing Lockwood to continue on to Randwick for a half million dollar tilt. “Jenny Graham is going to saddle up for us at Port,” Barry Lockwood said.