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Unique Face Off Planned At Scone Country Championships

By Rod Thompson

There'll be plenty of horsepower on show at the Scone Race Club on Sunday.

And, it won’t only come to the fore in the feature event, the H&NWRA Country Championships Qualifier over 1400m, either.

The Country representative and two-time Group 21 premiership winner faces his toughest challenge yet – a galloper that’s amassed more than $300,000 in prizemoney.

“It’s a great promotion for both [league and race] clubs, everyone’s talking about it,” Thoroughbreds president Tom Hagan said.

“In one corner, we have Tim – who’s played 100-plus first grade matches, scored in excess of 130 tries and weighs in at 88kg.

“Then, there’s After All That – who’s registered five wins and four seconds from 23 starts, as well as finishing runner-up to Free Standing in last year’s Country Championships Final.

“I rate Tim as the fastest player in Group 21 the past decade.

“In fact, I haven’t seen too many guys run him down.

“It should be a good race.

“And, I know Tim’s quietly confident.

“At the end of the day, it’s a bit of fun.”

Hagan thanked Scone Race Club CEO Heath Courtney for the opportunity to build a bond between the two sporting organisations, too.

“Hopefully, we can do a few more things together in the future,” he said.

“Arrowfield and Yarraman Park studs are two of our sponsors [this season], too.

“So, this [promotion] fits in with the ‘thoroughbred’ theme.”

The Rod Northam-trained After All That and Scone Thoroughbreds flyer Tim Smith will go head-to-head at the Scone Race Club on Sunday.

Courtney was just as excited as his league counterpart.

“I know I’m looking forward to the race,” he told the Advocate.

“Tim has 100m to run, while After All That will come from 250m, which should level the playing field a bit.

“I’m sure we’ll have a good crowd out here to watch this one-of-a-kind event.

“It’s not only free entry this weekend, but we’ve also got trick riders, water slides, face painting and slushies for the youngsters.

"Plus, we’re hosting a strong eight-race card."

That includes the H&NWRA Country Championships Qualifier, which has received 20 nominations.

“Melanie O’Gorman’s Suncraze would be among the early favourites,” Courtney said.

“Then you’ve got Scone’s own Paul Messara with Caerless Choice, which ran in the 2017 Final at Randwick.

“Another local trainer, Rod Northam, has nominated five starters in Don’t Doubt Her, My Tagoson, Our Sebring, Remittance and Try A Lil Harder.

“Muswellbrook’s Mark Schmetzer boasts two – Love None and Majestic Pedrille – as does Cody Morgan (Mr Pumblechook and Unbiased).

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