By Doug Ryan
A sensational 182 nominations have been received from Metropolitan, Provincial and Country stables for Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting at Taree on Friday, featuring rides for four top Sydney jockeys with the Showcase Wingham Cup and Showcase Corey Brown Cup being featured.
Two Melbourne Cup-winning jockeys, Corey Brown and Kerrin McEvoy, join Andrew Adkins and Adam Hyeronimus, all hoping to have rides in the $30,000 inaugural Corey Brown Cup for Benchmark 65 gallopers over 1300m.
The race club hopes their flying visit will encourage a good crowd to honour Brown, a former Wingham apprentice jockey, after his win on Rekindling in Melbourne last November. His cup has drawn 30 nominations whereas the Showcase Wingham cup over 1600m has 18 nominations, the fields being known on Wednesday.
Trainers from Warwick Farm, Hawkesbury, Grafton, Wyong, Port Macquarie, Gosford, Coffs Harbour, Cessnock, Muswellbrook and Taree have entered gallopers. The Warwick Farm trainers are Marc Connors, Matthew Smith who had a winning double at Randwick on Saturday, Greg Hickman and Clare Cunningham.
Champion provincial trainer Kris Lees also has loaded up with nominations for the cups and other races, his strike rate at Taree being memorable.
Connors has a strong hope in the $35,000 Wingham Cup with four-year-old mare Celtic Love which won at Newcastle over 1600m and has since run fifth at both Randwick and Warwick Farm over the distance.
Among the local gallopers is seven-year-old mare Who Is Game, trained by Michael Byers, the horse having won the Wingham Cup in 2016 and also scored over the distance at Warwick Farm on March 31.
Smith has a strong hand in the Corey Brown Cup with three-year-old gelding Catmosphere which won over 1000m at Wyong in August and since scored over 1200m in a class 1 handicap at Kembla Grange on May 12.
The track has played very well under all conditions this season and the club is hoping that all the visiting jockeys get to show their skills by having full rides at the meeting.