By Rod Fuller
After a stellar Port Macquarie Cup Carnival in October, racing returns to the popular mid north coast circuit on Thursday with Prince Mayted poised to strike in the feature sprint on the program. A quality field has been drawn in the Schweppes Showcase Handicap over 1200 metres with the Colt Prosser-trained galloper, Prince Mayted, deserving his place as one of the major chances.
Following a strong third first-up from a spell behind Oxford Poet in the Port Macquarie Sprint, the May'haab gelding travelled to Coonabarabran during their recent carnival and was beaten only a neck behind Professor Marx. On the strength of the gelding’s last start placing at Canterbury a fortnight ago in a Benchmark 70, Prince Mayted should provide the testing material in the main race on the program.
Promising young apprentice, Chloe Baker has been engaged for the ride and the advantage of her 2kg claim will alleviate the weight impost. The dangers look to be the Wyong-trained gallopers, Epic Dan and I’m Danny, who travel up the highway with strong credentials for a race of this nature.
Epic Dan’s second behind Hammoon Boy in the Jungle Juice Cup at Cessnock was full of merit and was followed up with a good effort at Canterbury in the race taken out by Il Mio Destino.
On the other hand, I’m Danny won an open handicap at Port recently before travelling to Tamworth when beaten 2½ lengths behind Don Pellegrino in a Benchmark 69. With the aid of Olivia Pickering, who is riding with great confidence after scoring a double at Coffs Harbour on Melbourne Cup day, the veteran gelding looks to have a significant chance.
In other races, Spinning Gold from the Damien Lane stable looks to be hard to beat in the Benchmark 65 following a comprehensive victory over Sculptures at Newcastle recently, while Commandatore will be the standout in the Class 2 Handicap.
Following recent metropolitan success and impeccable riding performances, Allan Denham has engaged evergreen jockey, Robert Thompson to pilot the last start Muswellbrook winner, Commandatore.
The granting of showcase status by Racing NSW has ensured minimum prize money is lifted to $30,000 per race and 102 final acceptances will contest the day’s overall purse of $250,000. Racing action commences at 1.15pm with Schweppes Showcase Handicap highlight being the fifth on an eight-event card scheduled to start at 3.40pm.
The meeting’s major sponsor is Schweppes and the club would like to acknowledge the continued support and assistance of the Sandbox at Flynns Beach, Charlie’s Take Away, Ruins Café, Flynns Beach Takeaway, Blair’s Newsagency and Hungry Workers Café.
R1 - Hungry Workers Cafe Maiden Hcp (1500m): 8 Golden Words, 1 Saint Denis, 2 Amare
R2 - Flynns Beach Takeaway Maiden Hcp (1000m): 7 Arrossire, 1 Usainly, Our Trolly Dolly
R3 - Blairs Newsagency Port Macquarie Country Maiden Plate (1200m): 13 Tayrose, 1 Collision, 8 Mister Smartee
R4 - The Sandbox Flynns Beach Benchmark 65 Hcp (1500m): 3 Spinning Gold, 5 Gronky, 1 Laszlo
R5 - Schweppes Showcase Hcp (1200m): 2 Prince Mayted, 4 Epic Dan, 7 I’m Dann
R6 - Hill Street Store Class 1 Hcp (1200m): 6 Golly Miss Solly, 1 Sylvie, 7 Island Grange
R7 - Ruins Cafe Lake Innes Village Class 2 Hcp (1500m): 7 Commandatore, 1 Bastia, 6 Our Chad
R8 - Charlie's Takeaway Lake Innes Village Benchmark 55 Hcp (1000m): 5 General Nelson, 7 Dee You See Kay, 12 Can’t Skate