By Rod Fuller
Despite being allocated top weight and resuming from a spell of three months, there is plenty of confidence surrounding the chances of Martinique in the Trackside Photography Handicap at Port Macquarie's TAB meeting on Saturday.
The Mark Minervini-trained mare has earned the handicap impost following solid placings at Newcastle and Scone when previously in work and will benefit by two recent barrier trials in preparation for the assignment.
The daughter of Barbados possesses an imposing first and second-up record indicating she does come to hand quickly and the recent trial victory at Gosford over Our Winnie provides further confidence.
With the claim allowance for Grace Willoughby and a pattern of racing generally on the speed, which could be advantageous on the improving track surface, Martinique is set to return to the winner’s circle in the feature race on the program.
Chief Havoc is backing up from an impressive victory at the track last week when driving along the rails and the Colt Prosser-trained gelding looks set to provide the main danger in the event while Wolfgram could fill the placings if anywhere near his best form.
With Martinique well placed in the middle of the card, the day could prove additionally successful for the Minervini stable when Super competes in the final event.
Despite the chestnut gelding having not appeared in a registered race since September last year, Super has benefited from two recent provincial trials in preparation for the event and the identical riding engagement of Willoughby provides added confidence.
Brixton Town does provide the main danger in the event with Perfectly Ready gelding responsible for a strong recent placing at Quirindi while Secrets No More is well up to the assignment.
After being shaken up by a horrifying accident on the way to Grafton last Sunday, John Sprague saddles up Razano in the fifth event with a repetition of her recent second behind Nombuso at the track placing the daughter of Verrazano as a serious candidate.
Her clash with the Peter Evans-trained mare, Dawn Thunder, adds further spice to the program after the Hidden Dragon mare’s narrow victory over Haven Road at Grafton last month.
Following an encouraging performance at Quirindi two weeks ago, Unforgettable is well placed to break her maiden status in the Great Northern Brewing Handicap while She’s Leaven only needs to replicate her recent Grafton run to be hard to beat in the following event.
The recent fine weather in the district has placed the track into the soft range with the promise of similar conditions in the next couple of days set to provide a competitive surface for thoroughbred action.
Races have been named in honour of Schweppes, Great Northern Brewing Company, Barrier Signs, Trackside Photography, John L Fisher Plumbing Supplies and John Oxley Motors as an acknowledgment of their continued support and assistance provided to the club.
Coronavirus restrictions remain an evolving scenario with action continuing at the Port Macquarie track under strict protocols set in place by Racing NSW together with Government and Health officials. Trainers, strappers, jockeys, officials, track staff and mostly essential personnel continue as the only persons admitted, which will prevent owners and members of the public from attending.
Punters will be able to follow all the action live from Port, Randwick and the supporting race meetings through the screens of Sky Racing and comprehensive wagering facilities will be provided by Tabcorp.
Race 1 – 12.56pm SCHWEPPES MAIDEN PLATE (1512M):
8 Mistress Rosetta, 10 Queen of All, 1 Collingwood
Race 2 – 1.31pm GREAT NORTHERN BREWING COMPANY MAIDEN PLATE (1210M):
7 Unforgettable, 3 Essoess, 10 Miss Mullins
Race 3 – 2.06pm BARRIER SIGNS MAIDEN HCP (1010M):
3 She’s Leaven, 3 Pollard, 10 Vaporetto
Race 4 – 2.46pm TRACKSIDE PHOTOGRAPHY BM 58 HCP (1010M):
1 Martinique, 4 Chief Havoc, 7 Wolfgram
Race 5 – 3.26pm JOHN L FISHER PLUMBING SUPPLIES BM 50 HCP (1512M):
5 Dawn Thunder, 6 Razano, 1 Dangerous Dan
Race 6 – 4.09pm JOHN OXLEY MOTORS CLASS 1 HCP (1210M):
6 Brixton Town, 1 Super, 9 Secrets No More