By Julieanne Horsman
With the first heat of the Country Championships only a month away, talk around bush tracks has turned to potential competitors.
In the Southern Districts Tumut-trained mare Levee Bank raced into contention after her win in the Class 1 GWS Handicap (1200m) at Wagga on Monday.
She led most of the trip and still had enough gas in the tank to kick away and win by a 1.3 lengths.
“We tried something different and it worked,” Weir said. “In previous runs she went back and got stuck and it cost her dearly, but this time she went forward and it was pleasing to see she is able to race like that.”
Levee Bank, by Excites from listed race-winning mare Shannon Bank, has a record of two wins and a place from six starts.
She had her breakthrough victory at Gundagai’s Snake Gully Cup Carnival last November, beating home a strong field in the Showcase Maiden Plate over 1180m.
Chadana, who was fourth in that race, went on to win her next two starts in Canberra.
When fifth at Cootamunadra Levee Bank was slow out of the barriers and the jockey dropped her whip but she still managed to make up ground in the straight. She ran third in a 1200m Class 1 at Wagga’s Showcase meeting and the second placed horse, And There Is More, went on to win her next race at Canberra.
“Overall her form is very good and we’ll be aiming her at the SDRA Country Championships qualifier at Albury on 19 March,” Weir said.
“We will try and give her a race or two between now and then, maybe a TAB Highway Handicap if there is a suitable one.”
Weir had Cod Rock in the SDRA Country Championships Heat at Wagga in 2015 but has never had a runner in the final.
“You need the right horse otherwise there’s no point so it’s exciting to have a possible contender,” he said.
Regular jockey, apprentice Megan Taylor, will keep the ride.
“Levee Bank is a bit of a difficult horse. She hangs in and hangs out but Megan handles her well," Weir said.
Levee Bank was bred in Tumut and most of her owners are from the area too.
“Her breeder comes down and gives her a pat every couple of days. He is over the moon,” Weir said.
Levee Bank is a half-sister to talented Canberra galloper Bank On Henry. He ran in the Country Championships grand final after finishing 2nd in the Goulburn heat last year.