By Doug Ryan
Port Macquarie trainer Neil Godbolt’s gallopers notched four wins in a row, ending with the first three on the card, at Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting at Taree on Tuesday. His other win was Dixie Lad ($4.40) in the last race at the Bushland Drive track on April 23.
Godbolt’s spree then started with Latitude ($2) in the Prime News Class 3 Handicap over 1412m and continued with Outsmartem ($7) in the Wingham Cup on June 1 Maiden Plate over 1007m and Dreamalina ($4.40) in the 2RE & Max FM Benchmark 65 Handicap over 1007m.
“It has been a long time since I had such a run, let alone three at the one meeting,” he said with an air of satisfaction. “It is my best day for a long time,” the consistent local premiership winner added.
He said his gallopers obviously enjoyed the conditions, a heavy 10, upgraded to heavy 9 after the second race, although he thought the going was more like a soft 6 or 7. The course certainly didn’t look overly marked at the end of the eight-race meeting, although Taree trainer Michael Byers felt “the mud” out wide at the start led to the downfall of his six-year-old mare ($3.80 and 7th) behind Dreamalina in the feature race.
Jockey Matthew Paget had Dreamlina running third early before scoring nicely by just under a length from Taree mare DesirableMiss ($5.50), trained by Ross Stitt: “Matt gets on well with her,” Godbolt said.
Five of her seven wins have resulted from rides by the jockey, Godbolt saying that Dreamlina wasn’t suited by getting back when fifth behind Jemily at Taree last start. The win of four-year-old gelding Outsmartem surprised Godbolt in scoring by nearly three lengths for jockey Robert Agnew after an early tussle on the outside of runner-up Brooke ($1.75) from Wyong.
The galloper was bought for $4000 off the internet from Melbourne and was having its third but first start for Godbolt: “It was hard to get a guide as its work was only fair.”
As for hard-fit Latitude, jockey Belinda Hodder took the five-year-old mare straight to the front and led all the way to score by 2.25 lengths: “The mare is racing more solid (three wins this campaign),”Godbolt said.
Tuncurry five-year-old gelding Twelfth Raj ($8), trained by Terry Evans and ridden by Allan Chau, had to survive a protest from jockey Peter Graham on runner-up Toast ($2.60) in the Cellarbrations Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1257m.
The galloper also won for the combination over the distance at Taree’s last meeting but this time part-owner Pru Scott was trackside to celebrate the win as last time she was in Perth, she being responsible for having the gelding transferred from Scone to Evans so she could easily watch its progress: “This horse was bought to be a stayer but it was a nice win,” she said.
A first visit to Taree from Inverell for trainer Allan Foran paid dividends with mare Ruby Two Shoes ($4.60), ridden by Matthew McGuran, scoring a long neck win in the XXXX Gold Class 2 Handicap over 1007m.
Newcomer to the training ranks, Matthew McCudden from Port, had his first win when four-year-old gelding Saint Denis ($2.60 to $1.85) led from a wide barrier for jockey Ben Looker to score by 1.5 lengths in The Bottle-O Maiden over 1312m for a family of Camden Haven owners headed by 84-year-old Jan Tate.
Other winners were Our Tickets ($7) ,trained at Newcastle by Jason Deamer and ridden by Chad Lever in the Wingham Beef Exports Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1614m and filly Luddenham Lass ($11), trained at Wyong by Jeff Englebrecht and ridden by Grant Buckley, in the Manning River Times Maiden Plate over 1614m.