By Rod Fuller
With a solid resumption at Coffs Harbour under her belt, Florelle looks to head the chances in the Schweppes Handicap (1200m) feature at Port Macquarie on Thursday.
The former Victorian trained mare has performed strongly for new mentor, Brett Dodson, with an outstanding second behind Alot Like Home in the Daniel Baker Sprint during the Coffs Harbour carnival before being sent to the spelling yards.
The effort in the Spring Flyer at her home track upon resumption last month, when beaten just over two lengths behind Hydrazine, indicates the daughter of Floral Pegasus will be fiercely competitive in the Hastings highlight.
Florelle will appreciate the extra distance in the Port assignment and will be partnered by Matthew McGuren, who is riding on the crest of a winning wave.
Following a stellar Grafton Carnival and a recent riding treble at Murwillumbah on Melbourne Cup day, McGuren heads to the mid north coast track at peak performance following a double at Ballina on Monday.
Florelle's first-up effort at Coffs Harbour on October 2
Knight Templar is the interesting entrant for the race and Grafton trainer, Jason Reilly, looks to have made the decision to run the dual acceptor at Port instead of heading to Murwillumbah in the Open Handicap on Friday.
The Lion Heart gelding raced well against excellent competitors when previously in work and has been freshened up with a soft barrier trial win before at good effort in the Jacaranda Prelude at Grafton.
The weight impost will be alleviated by the apprentice claim for promising jockey, Olivia Pickering, and a forward performance is anticipated for the eight-year-old gelding.
Choice Larga looks well suited as a genuine chance with popular Wyong trainer Damien Lane keen to take advantage of the successful barrier trial resumption at Gosford last week in preparation for Thursday’s event.
Form for the Al Samer gelding when last in work is sound and an excellent first up record of ten starts for two wins and four placings is a key statistic when assessing his chance.
Leading local trainer, Jenny Graham, has a three-pronged attack for the program with Veganza set to improve from the last start disappointment at her home track.
Form prior includes narrow seconds at Taree and Port with a repetition of these performances placing the Lope de Vega mare at the head of discussions in the Maiden Handicap.
Other good stable chances include the lightly raced mare, Let’s Rebelle, who is resuming from a seven-month spell with a Taree barrier run under her belt in the fifth event while Field Helmet is entered for the last.
The Kris Lees stable has plenty of youngsters engaged during the program while O’Driscoll seems well placed for Tas Morton in the Benchmark 66 Handicap.
The eight-race program commences at 1.15pm with the final event scheduled for 5.30pm and the outstanding facilities of the Ivan Livermore Grandstand will be in full operation providing excellent bar, dining and wagering facilities.
The club would like to acknowledge the continued support of Schweppes in staging the race day together with associated sponsors, The Sandbox, Charlie’s Takeaway and Catering, Ruins on Haywood, Hungry Workers, Hill St Store & Deli, Blair's Newsagency and Black Box Pizza.
Racing continues at the track on Tuesday 27th November with Port Macquarie Panthers Race Day and a large crowd of club members is anticipated to join the trackside festivities.
Race 1: 3 Charlie’s Law, Smokin’ Suzy, 1 Magic Ray
Race 2: 3 Veganza, 1 Hubble, 2 Grand Acheeva
Race 3: 2 O’Driscoll, 4 Chantilly Chateau, 5 Magic Name
Race 4: 7 Exdream, Red Cupcake, 3 Casino Mondial
Race 5: 5 Let’s Rebelle, 1 Akamin, 2 Dragoneight
Race 6: 1 Magic Name, 4 Angel of Heaven, 5 Mizzone
Race 7: 3 Florelle, Knight Templar, 4 Choice Larga
Race 8: 5 Just Sizzling, 6 Off the Dial, 3 Total Power