By Doug Ryan
Stand-in trainer Colt Prosser - for injured fellow Wauchope trainer Michael O’Neill - could land another win for the duo with six-year-old gelding Stoddart at Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting at Taree on Sunday.
Prosser has had one win and two seconds with the galloper since coming to the aid of O’Neill and the runner-up at Taree’s last meeting was a good thing beaten.
Stoddart flew over the last 50m after extricating from a smothered position to just fail by a short-head to local seven-year-old gelding Akamin, trained by Matthew Robinson and ridden by Port Macquarie’s top country jockey Ben Looker: “Ben held us up inside him and in another stride past the line we were in front ... we should have won,” Prosser said.
Prolific-winning country jockey, Belinda Hodder from Wauchope, again takes the mount in the Krambach Cup 19 October Benchmark 58 Handicap over the same distance of 1000m. Prosser said Stoddart was “a tough horse which could run every week.”
He had no hesitation taking over Stoddart and filly Khorloo (won maiden at Kempsey for Prosser on August 4) after O’Neill broke his wrist when tossed off a horse at his Long Flat property. He was in Port Macquarie Base Hospital for a few days, had to wear a sling to hold his arm for about six weeks and is back performing light work around his stable.
Prosser was only too happy to help out O’Neill and the win by Stoddart, also at Kempsey, and Khorloo has proven to be what the doctor ordered.
“Colt accepted the gallopers right away which helped me out. So long as both of us get a feed, things are going well,” O’Neill said. When he is ready, O’Neill will take the horses back, probably when they need a spell.
Prosser is this season’s Mid North Coast Racing Association’s leading trainer with five wins, including one in Sydney with Prince Mayted, and one at the Taree track last week with Phelpedo. He also has six-year-old mare Manning Treasure, a last start winner at Kempsey, engaged in Stoddart’s race and gives it a chance on its form and how it has responded since.
“It is in the best form of its career and will be ridden by Peter Graham,” he said. And nothing can be taken away from the win of Akamin as all of its five wins have been at the Bushland Drive track and at the distance.
Taree trainer Ross Stitt had a win with Editors and seconds with Natural Image and Pinnacle Power and they along with a few others are backing up from last Monday’s meeting here. He may have lost jockey Matthew McGuren as the rider again of four-year-old gelding Editors in the Melbourne Cup At Manning Valley Benchmark 66 Handicap over 1250m but has secured Looker not only for it but four others from his stable.
Editors is coming back from 1400m but Stitt said the galloper was “pretty adaptable” and had pulled up well after its win. The gelding will be sent for a spell after Sunday’s race and be aimed towards the rich Country Championships early next year.
Looker is also riding Pinnacle Power (2nd last week), Esplanade and Ticket To Kentucky. The latter hasn't sported silks since early this year but Stitt has been impressed with the four-year-old gelding’s work and gives it a hope first-up from a spell in the Saxby’s Soft Drink Maiden Plate over 1000m.
RACE 1: Pinnacle Power 1, Fuji Fury 2, Serket 3.
RACE 2: Starvino 1, Superbank 2, Totten 3.
RACE 3: Magic Ray 1, Boom Queen 2, Natural Image 3.
RACE 4: Sassy Charlie 1, Daydream Explorer 2, Ticket To Kentucky 3.
RACE 5: Counterfeited 1, Our Esposito 2, Zoffany’s Lad 3.
RACE 6: Stoddart 1, Akamin 2, Fear Factor 3.
RACE 7: Sepae 1, Editors 2, Patriot 3.
RACE 8: The Outcast 1, Ted’s Dream 2, Lunar Tramp 3.