By Rod Fuller
Following an emphatic victory in the Kempsey Cup a fortnight ago, Mister Smartee is poised to continue his great form when lining up in the Prime 7 Local News Open Handicap at Port Macquarie on Tuesday.
The son of Smart Missile rounded up the leaders in the recent North Coast feature and was able to withstand the finishing effort of Chamisal to reverse the result of the Krambach Cup at Taree in October.
It is significant that Tas Morton has engaged Luke Rolls to continue his association with the gelding as the popular hoop enjoys a bumper start to the new riding season with 27 premiership victories.
The John Sprague-trained gelding, Chamisal, is perceived as the obvious danger with the pair continuing their clashes of recent times and it should be noted that the Helmet gelding does meet Mister Smartee over 2kg better in the weights for a last-start defeat by over two lengths.
The other highlight on the program is the De Bortoli Wines Benchmark 66 Handicap with Henschel considered as one of the leading chances in the race. The Allan Denham-trained gelding has a strong record over the distance of Tuesday’s assignment and races well at the Port circuit with recent efforts resulting in a win followed by a solid third behind Leave Me Some over the last two months.
Following a recent fifth behind Geo at Gosford under his belt, Henschel should prove hard to beat with Lettre D’Amour set to provide the stiffest competition.
The Tara and Philippe Vigouroux-trained mare put the writing on the wall with an encouraging fourth at Gosford behind Zoumist and the riding appointing of Dylan Gibbons should offset the large weight impost with his apprentice claim.
With David Atkins electing to stay at his Newcastle base with Hooyah, the opening event presents Atomic Feather with strong prospects to break his maiden status. The Ethen Ensby-trained gelding put the writing on the wall with a narrow recent defeat at Lismore behind Crypto Fiorelli earlier in the month after being unsuited by the leaderish track advantage provided on the day.
The course proper looked a picture at the last meeting and the favourable weather forecast should provide a good surface for the program and give every runner a fair chance for success.
The meeting is sponsored by Prime 7, De Bortoli Wines, Schweppes, Great Northern Brewing Company, Carlton and United Breweries, Tabcorp and John Oxley Motors with the club greatly appreciative of the continued support provided by these fine organisations.
Patrons are welcomed back to the track for the final meeting of the year on Tuesday with everyone required to follow the current COVID-19 19 restrictions and guidelines. Names and contact details are required upon entry with QR Code sign in available for ease of entry and restrictions remain in place for people who are unwell, are in one of the risk categories or have travelled from a hot spot area without following the required guidelines.
Limited reserved seating is available in the Ivan Livermore Stand for table configurations from 4 to 6 people per table at a cost of $5 and bookings are essential with further inquiries to be made by contacting the Port Macquarie Racing Club office at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone (02) 6581 1964.
Plenty of seating for the general public is available with the undercover outdoor areas in operation together with wagering, dining and bar facilities. Punters unable to attend will be able to follow all the action live from the Port meeting and supporting programs around Australia through the screens of Sky Racing and comprehensive wagering facilities continue to be provided by Tabcorp.
The president, Greg Delaforce, and committee of Port Macquarie Race Club would like to take this opportunity to wish all racing participants and valued patrons a Merry Christmas and a safe, happy and successful 2021. Let’s hope everyone can cast aside the events of this year and look forward to a far more positive future.
May the festive season provide the gift of good health and happiness and thanks for the support afforded by jockeys, trainers, staff, sponsors and patrons for assisting in another successful year, despite the obstacles placed in the way.
The next meeting scheduled to be conducted by the club is on New Year’s Day with further details announced shortly regarding ticket availability, crowd limitations and COVID-19 restrictions in operation at the time.
Race 1 – 1.50pm JOHN OXLEY MOTORS MAIDEN PLATE (1506M): 6 Atomic Feather, 4 Prince Arli, 10 Don’t Recall
Race 2 – 2.25pm PRIME7 LOCAL NEWS OPEN HCP (1506M): 3 Mister Smartee, 2 Chamisal, 5 Couru
Race 3 – 3.05pm CARLTON DRAUGHT MAIDEN PLATE (1006M): 9 Innervoice, 2 Buckin’ Rippa, 5 Our Vera
Race 4 – 3.40pm TAB.COM.AU MAIDEN HCP (1206M): 7 Bouquets, 6 Confessed, 8 Carzeelil
Race 5 – 4.15pm DE BORTOLI WINES BENCHMARK 66 HCP (1206M): 5 Henschel, 1 Lettre D’Amour, 11 Stonecold Flex
Race 6 – 4.50pm SCHWEPPES BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1006M): 1 Daltoro, 7 Be Brilliant, 8 Magic Smile
Race 7 – 5.30pm GREAT NORTHERN SUPER CRISP CLASS 1 HCP (1006M): 2 Married to the Mob, 5 Nicci Trix, 7 Whatyoulookingat