By Mark Brassel
Local trainer Marc Quinn is adamant his Country Championships contender Cogliere will step out with his ‘usual brown coat’ in the $150,000 Mid North Coast Qualifier in a fortnight’s time at Port Macquarie.
Quinn revealed Cogliere returned from a three-week summer break sunburnt: “His coat turned a yellow-orange colour after being in the paddock without a rug.
“He was fine when he returned to our stables and looked a picture of health. It didn’t take long for his coat to clean itself up and return to its normal colour. He spelled at Norman Park in Wauchope and did really well so we’re very happy with his condition.”
Quinn said the Country Championships was an afterthought once Cogliere ventured to the spelling paddock.
“It didn’t come under the radar until we put him out for a spell – I had a think about where we were going with him and then realised he could again run in the Country Championships. He’s now borderline so he’ll be racing first-up in the Port qualifier. He has won first-up so he’ll be ready to roll on February 18.”
Quinn is referring to the qualifier conditions whereby horses can only run in the qualifying heats with 20 starts or less under their belt, and having won no greater than five races. Cogliere has raced 19 times for four wins and two placings.
The winner and runner-up in the qualifiers then gain a berth in the $500,000 Country Championships Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday 7 April.
“He’s in fine shape and had a spin around in a barrier trial at Port on Friday. He also had a recent Taree jump out and galloped in between races here on Australia Day.”
Marc Quinn is the most successful trainer in Mid North Coast qualifiers with a win (Cogliere at Taree in 2017) and a second (Explosive Scene at Port Macquarie in 2015).
“I only have a small string of horses and probably should have had a qualifier for the Final in each of the three years of the Country Championships. Explosive Scene had no luck when he ran sixth at Taree in 2016 after drawing the outside barrier.”
In Mid North Coast qualifiers, Blake Spriggs has been the most successful jockey with a win (Sheza Gypsy) and a second (Ever So Natural), narrowly in advance of Andrew Adkins (won on Cogliere and finished third on Marmaduke’s Lady).
Adkins, 20, finishes his apprenticeship tomorrow and will ride for the first time as a fully-fledged jockey at Kembla Grange this Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the two-day Walcha Cup Carnival kicks off this Friday with the running of the $35,000 Walcha Cup (1440m) supported by the $32,000 Ron Martin Maiden (1000m) and the $25,000 Lightning Handicap (1000m).
Walcha also races the following day with a total of $227,000 in prizemoney on offer over the two race meetings.
Check out all the qualifying venues & dates here - 2018 Country Championships