By Doug Ryan
Trainer Michael Byers hopes to erase from his mind a scratching problem at Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting last Monday with a win with six-year-old mare Music Magic at the club’s venue at Bushland Drive Racecourse, Taree, on Tuesday (1 May).
He had one of the favourites in seven-year-old mare Who Is Game in the feature race but had to scratch her after finding her injured on race morning. Byers thinks she injured a leg, which blew up, when frightened during a severe storm during the night at his Taree stables.
Who Is Game was well-fancied after a win at Warwick Farm on March 7 followed by an unlucky close-up run at the same course on April 11: “I thought she had an excellent chance of winning, especially when I found there were so many scratchings from the race."
A heavy track and the threat of more rain saw seven gallopers scratched from the race, it being won by Port Macquarie six-year-old gelding Dixie Lad, trained by Neil Godbolt and ridden by Terry Treichel. Godbolt wasn’t fazed by the six-race field that was left as after the win he said: ”It has been a long time between drinks.”
Ironically, Godbolt could again spoil the party for rival trainers as he has nominated four-year-old mare Dreamlina in Music Magic’s race, a Benchmark 65 Handicap over 1000m. Dreamalina was fifth last Monday in an apprentices race over 1007m, came in for good support betting wise, but was wide early.
Music Magic’s last run when second at Newcastle was full of merit as she was held up at a vital stage and then let down beautifully in only just being beaten. The start before that at Wyong, she was three and four deep after drawing the outside barrier and according to jockey Robert Thompson did too much work.
He resumes his association with Music Magic on Tuesday and was also the rider when she came with a powerful run wide out to score by just under a length in the Gloucester Cup over 1000m at Taree on February 26: “She has done everything right for Tuesday’s race,” Byers said. As for Who Is Game, he is hoping she recovers to try and win her second Wingham Cup on June 1.
Wauchope trainer Colt Prosser said he was likely to take on Music Magic with eight-year-old gelding Alpine Dragon. The prospect of a rain-affected track has him confident of a good run from his gelding which has won several races in soft and heavy ground, two of them at the track and a career six of its eight wins at the distance.
He said a wide gate and a “too quick” field beat his gelding over 800m at Coffs Harbour a week ago but was now “much fitter.” Alpine Dragon has been a credit to itself around the stable, has given new apprentice jockey Georgina McDonnell plenty of riding tuition and when retired is going to Mollie Partridge to be a show horse.
The club has received 117 nominations for the eight-race TAB card, acceptances being known on Friday. Trainers from Hawkesbury and other provincial areas have nominated gallopers.