By Mark Brassel
Next Saturday’s raceday may be devoid of a crowd, but Coonabarabran Jockey Club is still excited to be hosting its first TAB race meeting for the year.
“Having received some fantastic rainfall, the track and grounds at the racecourse look great thanks to track curator, Kerry Vallette,” said CJC president, Stewart Rodgers.
“We have a hard-working committee who’ve been busy weeding and getting the place looking good for our first meeting of 2020, after our 2019 April meeting was cancelled due to the drought and it’s great to see how green the course is.”
Local trainer Graeme Brooker has nominated Bowie’s Boy (Benchmark 50 Handicap, 900m) and Plectrum (Benchmark 50 Handicap, 1200m & Benchmark 50 Handicap, 900m).
Bowie’s Boy won at Gilgandra (800m) three starts back while Plectrum has been placed in two of his past three starts at Gilgandra (1000m) and Mudgee (1200m).
Muswellbrook Race Club will provide two meetings in the space of six days commencing with tomorrow’s Lone Pine Charge card.
Monday’s feature race is the $20,000 Muswellbrook RSL Lone Pine Charge (1000m) which offers a unique trophy to the winning owners.
“The perpetual trophy is amazing,” said MRC’s GM, Duane Dowell. “It’s an 18-pounder artillery shell with a base made from cypress pine. It is a really unique trophy.”
The Matthew Smith-trained Rebel Miss is topweight with 62kg and deservedly so, having resumed with an excellent third at Moonee Valley.
She won at that course in her previous preparation in November and will be partnered by Andrew Gibbons.
MRC has near capacity fields for each of the seven events with another feature being the $24,500 Miss Finland Handicap (1000m) for two-year-old fillies.
“This race has a history of launching quality gallopers. It’s amazing how many top-flight horses have come out of the Miss Finland,” Dowell remarked.
Muswellbrook then backs up next Saturday with a six-race non-TAB program.
Other race meetings next Saturday – albeit under strict Coronavirus protocols – are Lismore (TAB meeting), Corowa (non-TAB) and Forbes picnics (non-TAB).
Meanwhile, Racing Orange is gearing up for its Racing NSW Country Showcase meeting next Friday.
The program features the $67,500 Buckley’s Carpet Court Orange Gold Cup (2100m) with support races the $45,000 DVM Embroidery Country Magic (1300m) and $36,000 Top Coat Epoxy Flooring Country-Only Maiden (1280m).
“The course is in magnificent order and we expect capacity fields in virtually every race,” said the Club’s executive officer, Bree McMinn.
Happy Partner, a $31 roughie, surprised by winning the Orange Gold Cup Prelude for jockey Tiffany Jeffries and her trainer Mum, Sharon. The nine-year-old is expected to take his place in Friday’s Cup.