By Julieanne Horsman
Terry Evans has won plenty of races in his 16-year training career including almost every one at his home track, Tuncurry-Forster Racecourse.
One that’s eluded him is the Tuncurry-Forster Gold Cup but he has a solid chance of taking home the feature trophy this year with six-year-old gelding, Douro.
The galloper is excelling in his first preparation in Australia, having being purchased from New Zealand earlier in the year. He’s notched a win and two 2nds in his last four starts and his most recent run at Taree on 18th August was an eye-catcher.
Jumping from barrier 9, jockey Adrian Layt settled him near the rear of the field. He was third-last at the turn and flew home to finish only 0.17L behind winner, Ultimate Decision. “I was very happy with that run, especially the final 100m,” Evans said. “He’ll get further than 2000m for sure.
“He pulled up from the race well and has been down the beach and on the sand hills this week.”
Douro will again come up against Ultimate Decision in the 2100m Tuncurry-Forster Gold Cup but this time they will be equally weighted with just 54kgs each. When they met previously, Ultimate Decision carried 57kg while Douro had 58.5kg.
“The light weight’s ideal, the barrier (9) is good for him and the 410m straight ensures every horse gets their chance,” Evans said. “He’ll be back off the pace and will no doubt run home.”
Douro partners with regular jockey Adrian Layt who has been aboard for four of his last five races, including the win at Taree in July.
“The Cup has always been the target for this preparation and when Adrian said he wanted the ride, I was happy to give it to him and find a couple of other rides to make his trip worthwhile.
“Marman will be hard to beat but I’d say Douro is my best chance all day.
“I’d love to win it (the Cup) and it’d also be good for the town to keep interest in local horses and local races.”
Evans will also saddle up six other runners on Tuncurry-Forster Gold Cup Day and rates Not Doubtful in the Hawkesbury Raceclub & Motel Benchmark 53 Handicap (1200m) has second best chance.
He’s won at Tuncurry-Forster four times before and will benefit from apprentice jockey Chelsea Ings’ claim.
“He should run a nice race, he just loves his home track and is better drawn off as he gets back and runs home,” Evans said.
Bargain buy Svavarsson, who was picked up for just $700 after going through a handful of other trainers, will most likely start in the Bellevue Hotel Benchmark 60 Handicap (1500m) and be scratched from the other two races he is nominated for.
“Forget his last start, he was ridden a bit differently,” Evans said.
“He’s drawn badly (11) but he will go forward.
“He’s a good worker at home and just needs a bit of luck on race day.”
Maestro Tom is the topweight in the same race and will have to lump 64kgs.
He ran 2nd in a TAB Highway at Rosehill in January behind Madame De Ban, who has since been racing in Listed company in Queensland, however, Maestro Tom has failed to fire in his two starts since.
Meishou is first up in the Les Dunk Memorial/Tuncurry Beach Bowling Club Benchmark 55 Handicap (1400m) and Evans expects him to run nicely.
Sioux Chief and Dubleo Moon will both make their debut on Friday and while both have drawn poorly, Evans is eager to give them their first race day experience.
Friday will be a big day for Evans who has owners coming from all over the place to enjoy the carnival.
“All the marquees and cabanas were booked out weeks ago,” he said. “The owners come and get together, it’s a big social affair and I’m looking forward to it.”