By Rod Fuller
With the benefit of a decisive victory under metropolitan Highway conditions last November, Charmmebaby is set to continue her progression through the ranks in the $60,000 Queen of the North Handicap at Port Macquarie on Friday.
The daughter of Charm Spirit is trained by Bob Milligan and success would provide a wonderful tonic for the racing icon in his continued battle with ill health.
The multiple north coast premiership winning trainer still takes a keen interest in all racing activities from his home base and has provided the necessary experience to his son, Glen, who is also a part owner of the mare.
Since proving too solid for Eurogem in a Benchmark 58 Handicap at this track last September, Charmmebaby has taken the necessary steps through the grades and the narrow victory over Roc De Khaper at Rosehill prior to this assignment indicates she is well up to the class.
The Milligan stable’s last victory in this racing highlight was back in 2009 when Lady Game scored a comprehensive win by a length over Red Letter Daze and Full on Amy with the Rubiton mare amassing over $140,000 in prizemoney before being retired some two years later.
Heavenly Glow heads the honours list for the Queen of the North after winning the race in 2008 and then progressing to victories in the Group 1 Storm Queen Stakes, the Group 1 Australian Oaks followed by the Group 3 Doomben Roses in succession.
Heavenly Glow’s earned overall prizemoney of just under $800,000 and was ridden by evergreen jockey Robert Thompson, who 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 repetition the following year.
2019 was a stellar year for the race when Andrew Gibbons piloted Lucciola Belle to a dominant victory before accounting for Texas Storm and Awesome Pluck in the district Country Championship Qualifier three weeks later.
Charmmebaby wins at Rosehill in November
The Wayne Wilkes trained galloper finished a gallant second to Noble Boy in the Final at Randwick in April of that year, thus stamping the significance of the Port fillies and mares highlight.
The trainer and jockey combination completed the double in last year’s classic when Bellastar landed the prize over Bedtime Stories and Northern Wilderose before running a creditable third in the Country Championship Qualifier at Taree a month later.
The Bel Esprit mare is now under the care of Colt Prosser and attempts to achieve the Queen of the North double with an undeniable chance following a recent barrier trial success at Taree in preparation for the event.
The Wilkes stable first won this race in 2017 with Shotgun Roulette and are pinning their faith on Monica’s Star to continue their success in the feature event.
The daughter of Dr Doute’s resuming from a spell following a good third under Highway conditions at Newcastle last November and an imposing record at the track and solid performances first up from spells and on rain affected ground provides plenty of confidence for the assignment.
Em Em D’ar provided an encouraging performance for the John Sprague stable at his first run since relocating from Victoria and should be considered a serious chance in the second event while Rumpshaker looks hard to beat in the Prime 7 Local News benchmark 66 Handicap.
A limited number of reserved seating and access to the Livermore Stand and Clydesdale Room are still available for a cost of $5 with interested patrons encouraged to make contact with the Port Macquarie Race Club on 02 6581 1964 or email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
General admission tickets remain available on the day and there is no need to pre purchase with all patrons required to use the QR Code system to gain entry.
Everyone is advised to download the Services NSW app prior to attending to make things easier and plenty of seating is available with the undercover outdoor areas in operation together with wagering, dining and bar facilities.
The Port race track remains a COVID-19 safe venue and it is important to follow all the procedures and guidelines applicable with any person who is a resident or recent visitor of designated hot spot areas in Sydney, unable to gain admission.
The club would like to acknowledge the sponsorship provided Prime 7 Local News, Great Northern, De Bortoli Wines, John Oxley Motors, Schweppes, Tabcorp and McGuigan BMW and thank these fine organisations for their continued support.
Race 1 - 2 Muscadelle, 1 Enamour, 6 Asherla
Race 2 – 3 Em Em D’ar, 6 Island Rock, 1 Schiller Bay
Race 3 – 1 Admiral Ash, 5 Red Intuition, 3 Dunoon
Race 4 – 3 Areya Tuchuzy, 12 Zapluck, 8 Quite Neat
Race 5 – 6 Rumpshaker, 8 Superior Witness, 1 More Patasi
Race 6 – 6 Impulse Control, 4 Bay of Bengal, 2 Ciao Uno
Race 7 – 7 Charmmebaby, 9 Northern Wildrose, 8 Monica’s Star
Race 8 – 8 Valley’s Sister, 10 Flying Mojo, 5 Underboss