Wauchope trainer Colt Prosser and ace Port Macquarie jockey Peter Graham took the honours with winning doubles at Taree-Wingham Race Club’s TAB meeting before a good crowd on Friday.
Prosser and Graham combined with a solid just over a length win with four-year-old mare Stop The Fight ($3.90 win on TAB) in the Functions At The Winning Post Function Centre Fillies and Mares Handicap over 1312m.
Prosser’s other winner was Star Witness gelding Salad Dodger ($4.70), ridden by Belinda Hodder, in the Manning River Times 2YO Maiden Handicap over 1257m. Graham again showed his prowess with a last to first long head win on Coffs Harbour gelding Star Fest ($4.50) for trainer Brett Bellamy in the Taree Gold Cup—August 20 Benchmark 56 Handicap over 1614m.
Stop The Fight improved on her last start close second at Bushland Drive Racecourse, was on trial at the distance, and was having her fourth start since an operation for a wind ailment.
“I hoped she would get the distance…she is fit now,” said Prosser. “I had her nominated for a race at Grafton but Pete talked me into coming here, he summed up things well.”
The reason?—“She likes this track,” Graham said with a big smile. No sooner had Salad Dodger showed its class in leading all the way for a big syndicate of Wauchope owners cheering trackside, Prosser said the gelding was going for a spell.
“It was a surprise how good he went and I will look after him…he is promising although he is still learning.”
The trainer feels the rich country races for The Championships at Royal Randwick could be Salad Dodger’s target. "My horse was strong to the line..nice horse..he will be really good in another 12 months,” Hodder said.
Bellamy said his five-year-old gelding (four wins,17 placings) “puts in every time but sometimes the post comes up too quickly. "I will nominate him for the Coffs Harbour Cup ($80,000 race over 1600m).” Graham said of the big run from back in the field—“I nearly ran out of time.”
The gloss on posting the quinella for Taree trainer Wayne Wilkes was soured somewhat with a mid-race accident resulting in two gallopers losing their jockeys in the Saxbys 3YO’s & Upward Maiden Handicap over 1312m.
Wilkes and his apprentice Chloe Baker won the race with three-year-old gelding Sniponet ($2.70 to $2) with his Smokey Ora, ridden by Andrew Gibbons, a half-length back in second.
Cessnock filly My Girl Ella dislodged jockey Adrian Layt and then collided with mare Heart Of Silver, sending her jockey Alison Threadwell crashing to the turf.
She was treated by ambulance officers before being taken to Taree Base Hospital where she was treated for a leg injury, Layt escaping injury.
Baker said she was beside the problem and was lucky to escape trouble. Layt had more luck later in scoring on Tuncurry five-year-old gelding Douro ($11.10), trained by Terry Evans, in the Taree Cup Calcutta—August 19 Benchmark 64 Handicap over 2018m.
The former New Zealand galloper made up about 10 lengths to score a neck win and is headed towards the $80,000 Taree Gold Cup over 2000m on August 20.
Other winners on the card were Dolphin Tale ($25.50), trained at Port Macquarie by Peter Cheers and ridden by Raymond Spokes, Newcastle gelding Bold Chance ($1.80), trained by Kris Lees and ridden by Gibbons and Musical Query ($5.50), trained at Newcastle by Phillip Atkins and ridden by apprentice jockey Mikayla Weir.