By Rod Fuller
With a narrow second in the Jacaranda Cup at Grafton last week under his belt, Salad Dodger ($7.50 on TAB) is poised to return to the winner’s circle in the Schweppes Open Handicap at Port Macquarie on Thursday.
Colt Prosser has the son of Star Witness back to his best form with the recent second behind Bugalugs in the north coast highlight following a solid third in the Jacaranda Prelude behind Free Billy some two weeks prior.
With a strong record on the good track conditions set to prevail for the assignment and a distinct liking for the Port circuit, there a plenty of positives around the chances of Salad Dodger in the feature event on the program.
Additional confidence is provided with the riding engagement of Belinda Hodder with the prominent hoop starting the new riding season strongly with 14 wins and 45 placings. The strongest opposition is set to be provided by Let’s Rebelle ($8) and Leave Me Some ($2.70 favourite) with both horses possessing strong credentials to be serious challengers.
Jenny Graham has Let’s Rebelle engaged with the Rebel Raider mare resuming from a spell following a ninth at Newcastle last year behind Pinup Miss after being severely checked in the middle stages of the race.
With the benefit of a recent barrier trial under her belt, a strong first-up record and a distinct appreciation for the local circuit, Let’s Rebelle will be fiercely competitive while the recent victory by Leave Me Some will provide confidence for the supporters of the Time Thief mare.
Strong chances from the Kris Lees establishment are peppered throughout the program with Alastor ($3.70 fav) poised to break his maiden status in the Game Over Café Maiden Plate (1500m) following his two career placings.
The stable provides the topweights for the following event in the shape of Daltoro ($4.40) and Married to the Mob ($2.70 fav) with both geldings resuming from spells with solid barrier trials under their belts while Free Dawn ($2.20 fav) looks hard to beat in the South West Rocks Pro Shop Maiden Plate (1200m).
Ciao Uno ($2.70) was responsible for a breakthrough victory at Port last start and the Super One filly should complete a highly successful day for followers of the NSW premiership-winning trainer.
A strong list of nominations for the stand-alone fixture and the promise of fine weather conditions should provide competitive racing on a good four surface. The racing action is sponsored by Schweppes, Off the Hook Fish & Chips, The Governors Cafe, Ruins Café, Taste Bakehouse, Burger Urge, South West Rocks Pro Shop and Game Over Café and the club is delighted to continue their association with these great local organisations.
Coronavirus restrictions continue to be varied with a limited number of patrons allowed to attend the race meeting and it is a requirement that attendance intentions are registered with the Port Macquarie Race Club at firstname.lastname@example.org or (02) 6581 1964.
Names and contact details are required upon 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.
Both the Ivan Livermore Stand and Clydesdale Rooms will be in operation providing catering and wagering facilities and strict protocols and social distancing will be enforced. 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.
Race 1 – 1.15pm SCHWEPPES OPEN HCP (1200M): 6 Salad Dodger, 2 Let’s Rebelle, 7 Leave Me Some
Race 2 – 1.50pm BURGER URGE MAIDEN HCP (1000M): 4 Muscadelle, 3 Magic on Ice, 6 Whatyoulookingat
Race 3 – 2.25pm OFF THE HOOK BENCHMARK 66 HCP (1500M): 1 Aristograts, 7 Greenskeeper, 5 Manhattan Whirl
Race 4 – 3.05pm GAME OVER CAFE MAIDEN PLATE (1500M): 6 Alastor, 7 Earl of Sandwich, 13 Galaxy Belle
Race 5 – 3.40pm THE GOVERNORS CAFE BENCHMARK 58 HCP (1000M): 2 Married to the Mob, 1 Daltoro, 7 Be Brilliant
Race 6 – 4.15pm SOUTH WEST ROCKS PRO SHOP MAIDEN PLATE (1200M): 13 Free Dawn, 12 Empowerment, 7 Crazeelil
Race 7 – 4.50pm TASTE BAKEHOUSE CLASS 1 HCP (1200M): 2 Ciao Uno, 6 Nicci Trix, 1 Stonecold Flex
Race 8 – 5.30pm RUINS CAFE CLASS 2 HCP (1500M): 1 Ficsmm Dave, 3 Noble Cause, 2 Lord Jaysea