By Rod Fuller
With two runs from a spell under his belt and a home track advantage, The Kroc is surrounded by plenty of positives in the tab.com.au Benchmark 66 Handicap at Port Macquarie on Monday.
The Bullbars gelding worked home well at his most recent run at Taree last week and the extra distance together with the engagement of prominent jockey, Matthew Bennett, should provide the additional confidence for the assignment.
The Kroc should also be suited by the anticipated soft conditions and his chances will be further enhanced following the successful recent run of local trainer, John Sprague, at his home track.
Sprague was responsible for a training double at Port in early April when Shoreditch and Chamisal saluted before the pair continued the success at their most recent assignments over the last couple of weeks.
The stable also has Dew Drop entered for the race with the daughter of Eavesdropper given some chance after coming from a long way back and making up good ground late at a recent Port outing.
Form prior includes strong runs at Port and Grafton over the last month with his pattern of racing near the rear of the field and finishing strongly late, providing some confidence depending on the pattern of racing throughout the program.
The main danger looks to be Exorbitance following sound narrow placings at Ballina and Grafton with the Aiden St Vincent trained galloper being better suited in comparison to a recent hit-out at Taree.
Clunes Rocket has been racing consistently for Ross Dawson with a strike rate of eight wins and 22 placings and the Youthful Legs gelding should be considered in discussions for the race while Wonderful Thing is not without a hope following a recent Kempsey victory.
Popular Newcastle trainer, Ken Lantry, looks to hold the aces in the opening event with Dansk Havn following the gelding’s recent placings at the Port circuit.
The son of Harbour Watch indicated success wasn’t far away following a recent fourth at Newcastle a couple of weeks ago when beaten just under a length by He’s Elusive after being well-supported and racing on the speed.
Airlie Avenue is a lightly-raced filly from the Kris Lees stable and looks set to provide the testing material in the second event following a narrow second behind Sizzling Suzy at the track last month with challenges by Dawn Thunder and Mem’s Magic adding to the interest.
Neil Godbolt has the honest Red Dazzler mare, Typhoon Bonny, engaged in the fourth race with a repetition of her most recent victory in late January leading to plenty of confidence for Monday’s assignment.
With no registered barrier trial performances since her comprehensive win over He’s Our Toy Boy four months ago, it might be wise to follow betting transactions leading up to the event and it is significant the stable has engaged the services of popular apprentice, Mollie Partridge, for the ride.
Other chances on the program centre in the last two races with Havenot being presented by Allan Denham in the Class 2 following a first-up fourth at Muswellbrook in the event won by Bengalla Bay while Apache Belle seems well suited in the last.
The club is delighted to continue their great association with Carlton, Tabcorp, John Oxley Motors, De Bortoli Wines, Schweppes and Panthers Port Macquarie and express thanks for their continued support.
The seven-event program commences at 12.45pm and concludes at 4.20pm with the full trackside facilities, highlighted by the excellent Ivan Livermore Stand, will be in full operation.
An important reminder that all roads lead to Port Macquarie on Sunday June 16th when the track hosts the Wauchope Cup with all efforts being made to ensure the day is the best possible.
Race 1, PANTHERS PORT MACQUARIE CG&E MAIDEN HANDICAP (1200M): 3 Dansk Havn, 4 Controlthewitness, Birkdale
Race 2, SCHWEPPES F&M MAIDEN HANDICAP (1200M): 5 Airlie Avenue, 6 Mem’s Magic, 1 Dawn Thunder
Race 3, WAUCHOPE CUP-SUNDAY 16 JUNE MAIDEN PLATE (1500M): 11 Snuggle Bug, 3 Nobody’s Perfect, 7 Taroba
Race 4, CARLTON DRY BENCHMARK 66 HANDICAP (1100M): 3 Typhoon Bonny, 8 Neretva, 7 I am Impressed
Race 5, TAB.COM.AU BENCHMARK 66 HANDICAP (1500M): 5 The Kroc, 6 Exorbitance, 3 Clunes Rocket
Race 6, JOHN OXLEY MOTORS CLASS 2 HANDICAP (1200M): 4 Havenot, 3 Wisama, 2 Akeed
Race 7, DE BORTOLI WINES CLASS 1 HANDICAP (1000M): 3 Apache Belle, 6 Nicconi Lass, 1 Inwithachance