By Frances O'Shea
Trainer Ben Smith isn’t concerned about the change of venue from Scone to Wyong on Sunday, believing his three runners will be more suited to the Central Coast track.
Newcastle-based Smith, a product of Scone, is more than happy not to be visiting his hometown following Racing NSW’s decision to transfer the meeting because of predicted high temperatures.
“It was good they made the decision early and if anything I think my three will be suited a little bit better to the tighter Wyong track,” Smith said. “I wasn’t looking forward to the horses running in 40 plus heat so I think it was a good call.”
Smith considers Dream Charge and Pentridge the best chances from his trio of runners. Three-year-old filly Dream Charge is shooting for her second career win in the 1000m Class 1.
She has drawn barrier two and will be ridden by Josh Adams, who will partner all of Smith’s runners.
Having only her fourth career start, Dream Charge broke through for her maiden victory at Newcastle over 900m in July last year, before resuming with a third at Tamworth over 1000m on January 5.
“She is going really well and I’m expecting her to run a good race,” he said. “I didn’t trial her or even jump her out before her first-up run at Tamworth.
"She had the 59kg and was always going to be hurting over the last bit but under the circumstances she stuck on quite well.
“The winner, Ori On Fire, won pretty well and looks a pretty handy horse. Dream Charge has trained right on from that and I’m expecting her to run pretty well.”
Smith also gives four-year-old gelding Pentridge a good chance of breaking through for his debut win in the 1300m Maiden Handicap.
“He’s going really well. His first run for the stable was at Port Macquarie and he was a bit green. He was a tad tardy out of the barriers and didn’t travel that kindly. We’ve put the blinkers on him and he’s been working well. I think the extra trip will help him as well and he’s drawn reasonably well in six.”
Smith’s third runner Browning didn’t fare as well at the barriers and will start from 11 in a field of 12. Having her first run for the new stable, the Poet’s Choice mare has been unplaced in her three career starts.
“Her form isn’t great but she actually hasn’t been working too bad for me. She came to the stable in November and I’ve been working on her.
“The owners want to give her one more preparation and to date she’s been showing me a bit on the track. It’s trial and error with her at this stage so we will see how she goes on Sunday and take it from there.”
Artefiori, one of only two foals from champion mare Ortensia, lines up for her second career start in the 1300m Maiden. The three-year-old by Choisir, made her much anticipated debut at Scone on December 27 finishing third.
The first of seven races gets underway at 1pm, with the last at 4.30pm. Entry is free.
RACE 1 – 1PM: INGLIS CLASSIC YEARLING SALE FEBRUARY BENCHMARK 62 HANDICAP (2100m): 1 SET THE TONE, 2 Ima Baker, 3 Rage Against, 4 Packen.
RACE 2 – 1.35PM: DEEP FIELD @ NEWGATE MAIDEN PLATE (1000m): 1 SECOND ISLAND, 2 Chiswick, 3 Cunningar Lass, 4 Junction Road.
RACE 3 – 2.10PM: PIERRO@COOLMORE 2YO HANDICAP (1100m): 1 TA CHANSON, 2 Sunfighter, 3 Sunreel, 4 Heredero.
RACE 4 – 2.45PM: HINCHINBROOK@YARRAMAN PARK CLASS 2 HANDICAP (1600m): 1 HAND IT IN, 2 Free Ticket, 3 Parnossos, 4 Marathon.
RACE 5 – 3.20PM: HALLOWED CROWN 1ST YEARLINGS CLASS 1 HANDICAP (1000m): 1 DREAM CHARGE, 2 Big Legged Woman, 3 Christmas Cheer, 4 Hazelbrook.
RACE 6 – 3.55PM: STAR WITNESS@WIDDEN MAIDEN HANDICAP (1300m): 1ARTEFIORI, 2 Pentridge, 3 Bulletson, 4 Ayeteem.
RACE 7 – 4.30PM: ALL TOO HARD@VINERY CLASS 3 HANDICAP (1100m): 1 TAWFIQ BOY, 2 The Kiss, 3 Kate’s Pearl, 4 Yours Mine Ours.