By Grahame Timbrell
Two weeks ago Peter Evans moved his stable from Queenland’s Sunshine Coast to Coffs Harbour and on Monday ventures to the Mid North Coast for the first time.
Evans will have two runners at Port Macquarie with Jester Dane to run in the Balmoor Distributors Class One (1206m) and the in-form Command Hunter in the Wal (Dog) Badman Class Three (1506m). Stephen Traecey rides both horses.
While Evans has enjoyed his share of success on Northern Rivers tracks he has never ventured this far south.
“I am looking forward to it and no doubt we will become regulars at Port Macquarie,” he said.
Evans rates Command Hunter the better of his two runners.
“He is in good form and he is one of those adaptable horses that seems to race well wherever he goes,” Evans said.
“He has been to tracks all over south east Queensland and Northern NSW and rarely runs a bad race.
“This race looks ideal for him although the barrier is a bit of a concern.”
Command Hunter is a horse that likes to lead or race up on the pace.
Five starts back he ran a close third over 1600 metres at Doomben after leading into the straight, then was able to lead all the way two starts back when he won over 1516 metres at Lismore.
He followed that up with a close second over 1710 metres at Ipswich, again after leading until late in the race.
By way of contrast Jester Dane, having his second run back from a break, has drawn well in barrier two.
“He never draws a decent gate so that’s a change of fortune for him,” Evans said.
“The race is probably a bit short for him but with a good barrier you never know.”
Evans said a series of factors led to the move south.
“The Sunshine Coast is getting very crowded plus it’s not a pleasant drive down the Bruce Highway,” Evans said.
“My main clients, John and Gaye Harvey, live at Stanthorpe and they weren’t enjoying the drive up the Bruce Highway either.
“Then there is the far better prize money here in New South Wales.
“After several discussions we all decided this move was the best idea.”
The horse at this meeting with the highest prize money earnings is Claro El Banco, top weight for the Balmoor Distributors Class One.
There has to be s story behind any horse that has won more than $174,500 from only one win and 12 months ago this three year old was briefly a headline horse.
Caro El Banco, which is Spanish for “clear the bank”, won the $200,000 Magic Millions Clockwise Classic at Bendigo in late 2015 after leading all the way.
He then came north for the Wyong Magic Millions Two Year Old Classic where he finished seventh then went to the Gold Coast for the Magic Millions Classic early last year and finished 13th.
He was sent home for a spell, ran 10th at Caulfield on resuming and was put on the market and given to Grant Allard at Gosford to train.
After a third at Wyong and a seventh at Hawkesbury Allard fitted blinkers and his latest two runs have produced close-up fifths at Gosford and a fourth at Canterbury after being crowded at the start.
SELECTIONS: 1-1.20pm CARLTON MID 3YO MAIDEN, 1106m: MAGIC BENETEAU 1, Sehaab 2, Heroine 3, Lease Of Life 4. 2-1.55pm NATHAN OWEN @ MCGRATH ESTATE AGENTS MAIDEN, 1206m: SIOSTRA 1, Le Chiffre 2, Palace Princess 3, Bonnie Ticket 4. 3-2.35pm ARROWFIELD MAIDEN, 1506m: MAPUTO EXPRESS 1, Ride To Redemption 2, Spursum 3, Chui 4. 4-3.10pm BALMOOR DISTRIBUTORS CLASS ONE, 1206m: MAGIC ARLI 1, Party 2, Sam’s Oscar 3, Gold Dancer 4. 5-3.50pm BALMOOR DISTRIBUTORS CLASS ONE, 1206m: CLARO EL BANCO 1, Ombromani 2, Hurl’s Girl 3, Eat The Rich 4. 6-4.25pm DAYNE MOLONY/TODD BATES @ MCGRATHS BENCHMARK 65, 1106m: PENNINGTON 1, Hippy High Ho 2, Neretva 3, Jemily 4. 7-5.05pm SCHWEPPES BENCHMARK 54, 1006m: TIACONI 1, Kendalman 2, Enigami 3, Laurentian 4. 8-5.45pm WAL (DOG) BADMAN CLASS THREE, 1506m: BACKHOUSE BILLY 1, Forever Alone 2, Command Hunter 3, Able Chap 4. Best Bets: Magic Arli, Pennington.