By Doug Ryan
Newcastle trainer Jason Deamer is banking on a prominent run from mare Lady Evelyn in the $22,000 Taree Cup Prelude on Thursday to justify her tackling the 2000m of the $80,000 Taree Gold Cup on August 19.
It will be her first try at the 2000m but planning so far has the five-year-old aimed in that direction after showing her worth in three runs in Sydney.
Naturally, he would like her to win the Prelude to be exempt from ballot for Taree’s big one - at the local community’s biggest yearly social occasion.
“She had three hard runs in Sydney and she has had three weeks to freshen up for the 1600m of the Prelude,” Deamer said.
Her last win was over 1570m at Cessnock on June 4 but since then she has had a second, and two sixth placings in similar distance races to the Prelude.
Lady Evelyn has had a win and a second in four starts on the Bushland Drive track at Manning Valley Race Club meetings and two wins and three placings in nine starts at the distance, the trainer also having a good winning strike rate at Taree.
He has engaged Andrew Gibbons to take the mount and that hoop also has an affinity with the track and just had one of his best seasons.
Lady Evelyn runs second at Rosehill in June
The race is wide open and among the chances are some handy local gallopers as well as some from the top provincial stables.
One of the fittest in the field is seven-year-old Taree gelding Chalcedony, trained by Matthew Robinson, which stormed to a 1.5 lengths victory here over 2000m last start, it also winning here over 1600m on June 8.
The flashy chestnut has a liking for the track where five of its seven wins have been registered.
Its last win was on July 20 and the gelding could be fresh enough to unwind its powerful sprint to overcome dropping back 400m.
Robinson said his charge “is so consistent” and “goes on anything”.
Port Macquarie trainer Tas Morton was disappointed that his four-year-old gelding Mister Smartee which “missed the jump” in a Rosehill Highway over 2000m on July 28, it finishing sixth (7.5 lengths beaten) behind Huangshan.
He is keen to gain a start for his gelding in the Taree and Port Macquarie Cups and the Rosehill race was supposed to be a feeler for the distance.
Morton was happy with the way new apprentice Kyle Wilson-Taylor rated his horse to win easily over 1516m at Port the start before on July 14 and he is again taking advantage of the claim.
Wilson-Taylor is fresh from his biggest raceday at Kempsey last Saturday where he had wins on My Boy Louie and Chateauroux.
“My horse is a free runner and the kid suits him,” Morton said.
“Mister Smartee has pulled up really well. In fact he is thriving.
“I wanted to see if he could run 2000m in Sydney with our cups in mind,” he said.
Another Port galloper, Dixie Lad trained by Neil Godbolt, has an impressive record on the track with three wins and eight placings from 18 starts, one win being at the distance.
His unplaced last run at Coffs Harbour at a sprint distance can be forgotten.
The gelding was second in the Wingham Cup over 1600m at this track on June 1 and has a recent win over Chalcedony at 1614m in heavy ground.
Newcastle trainer Paul Perry cannot be dismissed with Marathon which won two races over 1300m at Scone recently and then was 11th over an unsuitable 1200m at Canterbury.
Fellow trainer Kris Lees is always hard to beat at Taree and his Go Benny could be on the rise, it running third in a barrier trial after a ninth over 1550m at Canterbury.
The rail is out five metres for the entire circuit to protect the track for its two big TAB days of the carnival on August 17 for the feature Hopkins Livermore Cup and the Taree Gold Cup meeting on August 19.
DOUG RYAN’S SELECTIONS:
RACE 1: James Richard 1, Eye Was 2, Tangarra Express 3.
RACE 2: Raay Of Time 1, Bill ‘N’ Ted 2, Watch Dat Stinger 3.
RACE 3: On My Terms 1, Flash Stinger 2, Billabong Cindy 3.
RACE 4: Mud Wasp 1, Cabriere 2, Gotta Run 3.
RACE 5: Titus 1, Andriana 2, High Rush 3.
RACE 6: Radiologist 1, Wongur 2, Peyton Place 3.
RACE 7: Lady Evelyn 1, Chalcedony 2, Mister Smartee 3.