By Doug Ryan
The form of two Taree gallopers could belie their ability when assessing their chances at Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting at Taree on Saturday.
They are 2017 Kempsey Cup winner, seven-year-old mare Lippy And Pearls, trained by owner Ross Dawson, and five-year-old gelding Burn’m from the yard of Karen Owen. Both line-up in the Thompson Motor Body Builders Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1600m - a race chockfull of interest.
Lippy And Pearls hasn’t won since the Kempsey Cup but has been knocking on the door for a win at its past three starts at Tamworth, Taree and Grafton.
And according to Dawson his mare “feels enormous” and has probably worked its best in “a couple of years” since its last start.
“I thought she would go close to winning at Grafton (1710m on March 3) and although she was travelling to the turn the pace of the race didn’t suit. She has to have the speed on and go from the 600m.
"[Coffs Harbour jockey] Ray Spokes thought she was going to win on the turn but had to settle for seventh [beaten 3.9 lengths].”
Lippy And Pearls has won at the distance and has two wins and two seconds on soft tracks.
“She showed by her fourth at Taree over 1600m she can handle that rating in finishing fourth [1.93 lengths, February 23].”
Burn’m has only had 13 starts for three wins, one of them on the Beaumont Track over 1150m at Newcastle on February 17.
Owen is convinced that her gelding is ready for the 1600m after a 2.65 length seventh over 1400m at Newcastle and an unlucky 3.6 lengths 8th over 1500m at Port Macquarie on March 20. Burn’m put in a good race when 7th over 1600m in a Class 3 Highway at Randwick last campaign.
She wanted her gelding to tackle some smart ones at Muswellbrook recently to determine if he measured up to the class but a start was missed when he was an emergency.
Owen said: “He had no luck at Port when he was caught on the inside in the worst going on the heavy track. He is fit and healthy and has jockey Rachael Murray riding him", as she has done at his past four starts.
But the interest doesn’t stop there as Newcastle trainer Jason Deamer is hoping his luck at the Taree track will suit his four-year-old mare Lochita. One of its two wins was over 1250m in a heavy 10 at Taree and the other was by five lengths over 1600m on a good track at Tuncurry on February 29.
“My horse has been holding his form well and is eating well. He was going to Brisbane last week until everything was up in the air about travel.
“His fourth at Gosford (March 14) over 1600m last start was good as he was caught up on the fence at a vital stage,” Deamer said. “What is more she loves wet tracks.”
Also in the mix are Scone’s Pure Faith, trained by Brett Cavanough, which has won its past two races, and Serriano, trained by Newcastle’s Kris Lees.
Port trainer John Sprague had a close second with Chamisal ($26) at Newcastle during the week and has four-year-old gelding Lucky For Some accepted in the Kennards Hire - Taree Class 1 Handicap over 1400m but has to beat Ego Dancer, trained by Lees and to be ridden by jockey Andrew Gibbons, the combination having a light representation at the meeting.
RACE 1: Inferno Miss 1, Magic Smile 2, Honey Elysees 3.
RACE 2: Jennifer Magic 1, Pinnacle Power 2, Trumps In 3.
RACE 3: I’ll Take Money 1, I’ve Got This 2, Arabolini 3.
RACE 4: Proprius 1, Walton Hall 2, Sunday Special 3.
RACE 5: Ego Dancer 1, Lucky For Some 2, Za Za Zena 3.
RACE 6: Lippy And Pearls 1, Burn’m 2, Lochita 3.