By Tony Megahey
Esteemed local Sue Grills has an unwavering belief in developing filly Hammoon Ballad and refused to concede when she departed her Tamworth stables months back.
“I lost her to Kris Lees for a while and that was disappointing but I kept asking the owners if there was an opportunity to get her back,” Sue revealed as Hammoon Ballad returns for Sue at Tamworth’s TAB meeting on Friday.
Hammoon Ballad is back home after being outclassed in the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet in mid-May for the record-achieving regional stables of Lees.
When Sue won successive early career restricted races with Hammoon Ballad at Dubbo and Muswellbrook she had developed a bond with the filly and was confident of bigger occasions.
However, Hammoon Ballad was transferred to Lees in early February and after successive placings in decent grade at Kembla and Scone; she was then tried at Listed level up north in early May but found the class too steep.
But a strong last start Quirindi placing suggests the Dream Ballad filly is getting back to her best into a deep Dutton Electrical BM 66 (1600m).
She’ll carry 56.5kg for regional racing icon Robert Thompson, a regular for the Grills stables, who has an appealing book on the day.
“I’ve always had an opinion of her; lovely filly but she just can’t draw a barrier. We’ve landed the extreme outside with her again in a really strong race,” Sue added with several value chances on a day of mostly capacity fields at Tamworth.
“I’m happy with her though, Robert’s rides and that’s always a bonus. “
Sue has high hopes for spelling city class sprinter Burning Crown for the upcoming Country features where he will be ridden again by Thompson.
On Friday, Sue is confident of being competitive in the fourth event with Mick’s Regret and the sixth race with Montana Pines.
“It was short of Montana Pine’s preferable distance last start, he’s going well though, out to his right trip and drawn well.
“Mick’s Regret is drawn really wide, he probably needs further but he’s lightly-raced and his runs have been solid and he’s in a suitable maiden.“
In–form trainer Brett Cavanough and South African jockey Keagan Latham is the combination to follow with Star Boy and Boom Gate hard to beat in respective races.
Tamworth at present is rated a good 4 surface with fine weather predicted.