By Rod Fuller
After a successful campaign at Wagga during the recent cup carnival, Sophie’s Image looks the testing material in the Col Foster Memorial at Port Macquarie this Sunday.
The lightly-raced Churchill Downs mare was responsible for a comprehensive victory in Class 1 company at the Murrumbidgee track three weeks ago after being handy in the run.
The Tracey Bartley-trained galloper landed good wagers on that occasion and it is significant to note that Sophie’s Image is the only entry from the stable for the program with leading jockey Grant Buckey engaged for the assignment.
Buckley, with a record of 58 state wins this season looks to have a great chance with the mare, who has won two races from seven outings with one minor placing. Other chances in the race look to be the Kris Lees trained filly, Gingersnap, and the consistent Immortal Miss.
Lees, currently third in the State Trainers’ Premiership behind Chris Waller and John O’Shea, appears to have some strong chances throughout the day and might be the trainer to follow.
Popular Kempsey trainer, Barry Ratcliffe, seems to hold the aces in the Athol Platt Memorial with Pomme Petite. The California Dane mare tasted victory on heavy ground at Coffs Harbour in February and was responsible for a strong first-up second at Grafton in April.
The Grafton assignment was in open company and she will be suited by the Benchmark 64 conditions on Sunday.
The track has had a break of just over three weeks since the last meeting conducted and, barring wet weather, should provide a good surface for racing with a uniform grass cover.
Sunday’s meeting is one for the record books with leading jockey, Peter Graham, joined in the riding ranks by son Jesse and daughter Cejay, both indentured to popular local trainer, John Sprague.
Cejay is making her debut with two rides on Sunday, while Jesse has ridden 12 winners this season with both very promising young jockeys in the making and a real credit to their family.
The meeting perpetuates the memory of four fine local racing personalities with the feature race being the Athol Platt Memorial, named in honour of the former trust president and spearhead for the reconstruction of the new Port Macquarie track and facilities in 1967.
Other races on the program pay tribute to former champion local jockey, Col Foster, outstanding trainer and racing official, Bob Graham and a man who dedicated his life to racing in the Port Macquarie and Wauchope districts, Stephen Cook.
The race meeting is sponsored by Carlton Mid, Settlers Inn Hotel and Tab.com.au. Prizemoney for the program totals $140,000 with the first of seven races scheduled to commence at 12.30pm
SELECTIONS 1 Carlton Mid 2YO Hcp: 2 Ellie’s Encore, 1 Harnova, 3 Deneeky 2 Settlers Inn Hotel Maiden Hcp: 2 Tigers Image, 1 My Lucky Eagle, 4 Lady Light 3 Tab.com.au Maiden Plate: 3 Great Grats. 5 The World Over, 8 Cracklin’ Rosie 4 Stephen Cook Memorial BM55: 6 Morning Fare, 3 Art Attack, 5 Johnny Feedback 5 Col Foster Memorial CL2 Hcp: 1 Sophie’s Image, 6 Gingersnap, 3 Immortal Miss 6 Athol Platt Memorial BM64: 8 Pomme Petite, 6 Johnny Gee, 3 Lolly Shoppe 7 Bob Graham Memorial CL1: 3 Look And Listen. 5 Silver Gums, 7 Penny Ella Best Bets: Sophie's Image, Pomme Petite