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Taree A Test For Provincial Championships Hope (Thursday)

Gosford trainer Angela Davies has Provincial Championships ambitions for her in-form mare Single And Free who is chasing her fourth win from just seven starts at Taree on Thursday.

Davies is also having a great time with her promising sprinter Waitandwatch who is unbeaten in three starts this preparation after completing his hat-trick at Randwick on Boxing Day.

Waitandwatch is now heading to the Gold Coast for the Magic Millions Country Cup (1200m) on 14 January.

"He's (Waitandwatch) going really well and he's off to the Gold Coast now," said Davies.

"Single And Free is also going along nicely this prep and I'll probably give her a little break after she runs on Thursday and aim her for those Provincial Championships races which are worth $150,000.

"I think she'll really relish getting up to 1400m."

The Provincial Championships heats will be run at Wyong (23 February), Hawkesbury (2 March), Gosford (15 March), Kembla Grange (23 March) and Newcastle (29 March). The $400.000 final is run at Randwick on 8 April.

Single And Free, a four-year-old daughter of Not A Single Doubt, has compiled a good record of three wins from her six starts, including two wins from her three starts this campaign.

She scored first-up at Quirindi by almost seven lengths in a F&M Benchmark 55 Hcp on 8 November, clocking 1.07.52. Two starts later she posted a 1.5 length win in a Class 3 Hcp (1250m) at Taree on 18 December.

The mare is out to make it three wins from as many starts at Taree when she lines up in Thursday's Harrington Hotel Harrington Cup Benchmark 65 Hcp (1300m).

The Taree track on Tuesday was rated a soft 5 after receiving 21mm of rain earlier in the week. Davies won't be too concerned if Single And Free does have to tackle a rain-affected track for the first time.

"She's never been on soft ground but she's by Not A Single Doubt and that breed generally handles the wet," she said.

"She's a lightly-framed mare who's just needed a bit of time to develop. She had a niggling back problem last prep and then got a virus so we had to give her a break.

"She's thickened up since and is a bit stronger now."

Davies is concerned about Thursday's barrier, Single And Free coming up with the outside gate in the 11-horse field.

Her only other runner at Taree - The Baker in race four - also drew the outside gate.

"We copped the outside gates with both of them. The Baker drew gate 16 and he won't be running," she said.

"Single And Free has the awkward gate so I'll just have to leave it up to Andrew (Gibbons) - there's nothing I can do."

Davies rates the Allan Denham-trained Bakslap as the horse to beat on Thursday.

Bakslap finished last on a heavy 8 at Scone last time out but won his previous two starts at Scone and Hawkesbury.

"Allan Denham's horse is going well and has drawn perfectly (barrier two) so he's going to take plenty of beating from there," she said.

An interesting runner in the race is the topweight Beluga Caviar, a regally-bred five-year-old who lines up for his first start for Newcastle trainer Grant Marshall.

Formerly with David Hayes and Tom Dabering at Lindsay Park, Beluga Caviar is by champion stallion Redoute's Choice out of Scandinavia, the granddam of Black Caviar.

The rail will be in its true position for Thursday's seven-race program.

View the fields, form and race replays for Taree here.

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