By Rod Fuller
Popular local trainer John Sprague has the key to racing action on Carlton Draught Port Macquarie Cup day including Glitra in the $150,000 feature.
The Stravinsky gelding came with a paralysing burst down the outside of the track to be narrowly beaten by Miss Tickles in the Cup Prelude two weeks ago. The result was the barest seen at the course for quite a while and the gaining of automatic elevation to the highlight providing the stable with a plenty of confidence.
Glitra’s previous runs have been full of merit including success at Taree in their Cup Prelude and solid performances at Coffs Harbour and Ballina. The Sprague stable has enjoyed a wonderful year and success in the cup would provide the highlight for the hard-working local mentor and his training team.
The gelding will be piloted by Andrew Adkins who received the Theo Green Award as Sydney’s leading apprentice at the recent NSW Racing's Nights of Champions.
Adkins spent 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.
Now under the guidance of former champion jockey and now astute trainer, Ron Quinton, a win in the cup would provide a terrific hometown thrill for the talented rider.
Apart from the main race, the stable have plenty of chances engaged throughout the day including Saint Denis in the opening race. The Show A Heart gelding has raced on eight occasions for 4 placings and was narrowly defeated by Stylish Charlene at Cessnock just over a week ago.
With that run under his belt and in a race to suit, Saint Denis looks a significant chance to notch up a win in the Oxyoptia Maiden Plate.
The main danger looks to be Nic and Run, who has been a model of consistency and will derive a great deal of benefit from the third behind Camillo recently. The yellow and grey Sprague colours will be carried by Zoeasy in the second race, another competitor deserving success after creditable recent performances.
The query runner is the Kris Lees-trained debutante Ivory Jane who has benefited by four barrier trials including a win at Gosford over 800 metres in preparation for this event. Other Sprague stable hopes look to be the wonderful money spinner, Jemily in race three and the resuming mare, Shelley Beach Road in the fourth.
Jemily had an agonising run of minor placings at Armidale, Port Macquarie and Taree when last in work before being beaten just over two lengths on her home track in May.
Shelley Beach Road is another resuming from a spell but with the benefit of a strong placing in the recent home track barrier trial, should be considered a real chance in the event.
Carlton Draught Port Macquarie Cup day could provide a wonderful tonic for John Sprague and his team with the celebrations continuing for quite a while if everything falls into place for the hometown mentor.