By Rod Fuller
The stage is set for an outstanding day of racing at Port Macquarie on Australia Day with Tears in Heaven poised to salute in the $60,000 Patriots Bloodstock & Racing Queen of the North feature.
Following creditable performances in Group and Listed events at Randwick and Newcastle at her most recent campaign, the Domesday mare looks well positioned to be extremely competitive after wins at recent provincial barrier trials.
Success would mean a great deal for trainer Tracey Bartley and, with well-respected jockey Grant Buckley piloting the horse, a strong first-up performance is anticipated. Tears in Heaven has a record of 24 starts for 5 wins and possesses a strong first-up record together with being unbeaten at the Port track.The Warren Gavenlock mare, Menneke Belle continues to progress through the grades following wins at Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour with Friday’s assignment sure to be well into her ability range.
A sentimental favourite for the $60,000 Patriots Bloodstock & Racing Queen of the North is the Kim Waugh-trained mare Never Out, named in honour of the former champion cricketer, Phil Hughes.
Kim’s husband and legendary Australian Cricketer, Mark Waugh were instrumental in enlisting the support of a group of owners, which include the Marsh brothers, Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Ryan Harris and Greg Blewitt. Combined with current Australian coach’s wife Andrea Lehman and broadcasting great, Alan Jones, the success of Never Out would provide a wonderful chapter of racing for the memory of Phil Hughes on Australia Day.
With an imposing record of 11 starts for 3 wins and 4 placings together with a last start win at Gosford on New Year’s Eve following a spell of three months, such a result is a distinct possibility.
In other events, Kelsha Begs has been a wonderful money spinner for connections with Cessnock trainer Alan Smith returning to Port in the Benchmark 57 to improve on her most imposing record of six starts for four wins and a placing at the track. Following wins at the circuit in November, the Casino Prince mare was responsible for a narrow placing at Muswellbrook when resuming from a spell.
Editors is expected to prove the testing material in the Class 3 Handicap following wins at Taree and Kempsey before a creditable run at Randwick in a Highway event won by Acquittal. The Club is delighted to be associated with Patriots Bloodstock and Racing for this prestigious race that has been won by many fine fillies and mares since inception.
Heavenly Glow heads the honours list for the Queen of the North after winning the race in 2008 and then progressing to success in the Group 1 Storm Queen Stakes, the Group 1 Australian Oaks followed by the Group 3 Doomben Roses. Heavenly Glow’s earned overall prizemoney of just under $800,000 and was ridden by evergreen jockey Robert Thompson, who has a great strike rate for this event over the last few years having also piloted Leviosa to victory in 2012.
Al Nova has the honour of winning the race on two occasions for the popular Neil Godbolt and Alison Threadwell combination following success in 2013 and a promotion to number one position the following year. The Wayne Wilkes-trained, Shotgun Roulette came down the outside with Chloe Baker aboard to take out last year’s event and will out to repeat the achievement on Friday.
Set up only in August 2016, Patriots Bloodstock & Racing is a management group that provides expertise in the training, buying, selling and administration of racehorses on behalf of their clients. The organisation is aiming to become a major provider for the racing fraternity in the northern districts of NSW and have enlisted the co-operation of Young Professionals in Racing (YPR) for this massive day of racing action.
YPR is a non-for-profit organisation backed by Racing NSW, bringing a new fresh vibrant approach to industry participation, bringing together people from all different walks of life to share the racing experience.
As well as the promise of an outstanding day of racing action, the meeting is sure to provide a wonderful springboard for the $500,000 Country Championships Final at Royal Randwick over 1400 metres on Saturday 7th April. The Country Championships consists of a series of seven qualifying races, each held at a club representing one racing region in NSW.
Each race will be worth $150,000 in prizemoney and will be contested by eligible horses that must be under the care of a country trainer in that region. Port Macquarie Race Club is honoured to be hosting the Mid North Coast qualifier on Sunday 18th February with neighbouring heats to be conducted at Grafton on Sunday 11th March and Scone a week later.
To coincide with the Port Country Championships heat, leading broadcaster Ray Hadley will be conducting his top rating morning program live from the track as the date approaches. The meeting is the culmination of the January carnival of racing for the club and the excellent catering, wagering and bar facilities together with spacious lawns will be in full operation.
Children will be entertained with the jumping castle and face painting available and free buses will run from Gordon Street and Tacking Point Shops on the day. The twilight racing action commences at 2.29pm with the feature race scheduled for 5.39pm and the last on a seven-event card set down for 6.15pm.
RACE 1 (Patriots Bloodstock & Racing Young Professionals in Racing 3YO Maiden Hcp, 1100m):
2 One Invincible Cat, 5 Sunsilk Girl, 6 Heaven Help Me
RACE 2 (Patriots Bloodstock & Racing Leading ACT Apprentice Patrick Scorse Maiden Plate, 1500m):
5 Wallaman, 2 Kaleb Will Do, 1 Dad’s Army
RACE 3 (Patriots Bloodstock & Racing Thank You Julie Hodder Maiden Hcp, 1200m):
6 Miss Redoble, 2 Wild Grace, 3 Bestowal
RACE 4 (Patriots Bloodstock & Racing Asset Management, Sales & Purchases BM 57 Hcp, 1000m):
1 Kelsha Begs, 5 Enigami, 8 Little Moots
RACE 5 (Patriots Bloodstock & Racing Thanks its Clients & Supporters CL3 Hcp, 1500m):
4 Editors, 3 Riva Encore, 5 Let’s Get Nauti Gal
RACE 6 (Patriots Bloodstock & Racing Queen of the North-F&M BM75 Hcp, 1200m):
4 Tears in Heaven, 7 Menneke Belle, 8 Never Out
RACE 7 (Patriots Bloodstock & Racing Thank You Belinda Hodder CL1 Hcp, 1200m):
4 Plectrum, 3 Forsox, 2 Our Brother George