By Doug Ryan
Newcastle trainer Mark Minervini hopes his gelding Quick Tempo will live up to its name and post its fourth win from four starts at Manning Valley Race Club's TAB meeting at Bushland Drive Racecourse, Taree on Monday.
"He is well named ... a sharp little galloping horse," he said of the three year-old gelding which cost $20,000 and has wins at Mudgee, Muswellbrook and Taree.
Quick Tempo can handle heavy conditions, the prospect for the track after rain and has won over 1000m at Taree on October 15, the distance of the Sky Racing World Benchmark 66 Handicap on Monday.
"He can handle wet conditions and will be ridden by two kilo claiming apprentice Jackson Searle who has won on him."
Minervini said he bought the gelding online 15 months ago and at first he was hard to handle, rearing up with riders on, so it was gelded and went back to the breaker. The trainer said he wanted to have his gelding notch his fourth win at Taree because "I am impressed with the terrific condition of the track."
Quick Tempo meets a pretty handy field of sprinters and another trainer impressed with the track, Nick Mitchell from Gosford, is starting his five-year-old gelding Rumpshaker first-up from a spell: "He likes the track because it has a good straight and gives him a chance to wind up."
Rumpshaker has had six starts at Taree for two wins and two seconds and has won in the heavy: "Chris O'Brien (jockey) will ride my horse as he has ridden him before and they combined in a recent trial.
"Rumpshaker is fit enough to run the 1000m, then step-up in distance next start. He swims and is a lot better on wet ground," Mitchell added.
With the Brisbane races called off, this means the winner of 10 races, 6yo mare She's Choosie, trained at Grafton by Greg Kilner, is coming to Taree instead.
"The form around her is good of late and she has been a good mare, likes the wet," Kilner said. "She is honest and tries all the time," he said of her 46 starts for the 10 wins and seven placings.
The mare was beaten by promising Tara Jasmine in running fourth in the Jacaranda Cup over 1100m on November 3: "I bought her as a yearling and I will breed from her after this preparation," Kilner said.
Wauchope trainer Michael O'Neill, who has 8yo gelding Wolfram, a winner over 1000m in the heavy on his home track recently, remarked that "it is a high grade" field but with in-form Taree apprentice jockey Georgina McDonnell engaged, he has hopes of running well as he aims for another good run at the Woop Woop Cup meeting at Wauchope on Boxing Day.
Scone trainer Cameron Crockett has last start winners in Into The Fire and Primal Scream to add to the puzzle. Also, scoring at its last start in the heavy at Port Macquarie on November 11, is return to form 4yo mare Slice Of Heaven, trained at Wauchope by Colt Prosser.
Adding plenty of sparkle to the seven-race card are the XXXX Gold Fillies and Mares Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1250m and the CG&E Benchmark 58 Handicap over 1250m.
Two gallopers sure to run well in the first of them are 5yo mare Atlantic Lite, trained on the track by Matthew Robinson, and similar aged Wyong mare Minifinn from the strong stable of Kim Waugh.
Atlantic Lite led into the straight and wasn't far away when fifth to winner Conexcell here last meeting and has won in heavy ground. Minifinn was less than a length second at Scone over 1300m on a soft track on November 15.
A hope in the Hydrahose Summer Cup 19 Dec. CG&E race is Port's Deep Dream, trained by Matthew McCudden.
RACE 1: RAZANO 1, PROSPERO 2, ITALIAN TUNE 3.
RACE 2: TAKING THE MIKKI 1, INTO THE BLUE 2, ORBITAL SPEED 3.
RACE 3: STAR IMPACT 1,MILITARY STAR 2,BESIDE HER 3.
RACE 4: TIVA BAY 1, ZIPPY POWER 2, LAST NOT LEAST 3.
RACE 5: QUICK TEMPO 1, RUMPSHAKER 2, SHE'S CHOOSIE 3.
RACE 6: DEEP DREAM 1, KOTINOS 2, DOOLIE 3.
RACE 7: ATLANTIC LITE 1, MINIFINN 2, PELGRAVE 3.