Trainer Brett Bellamy hopes to get a positive guide to where he's heading with promising mare Super Tonic when she puts her unblemished record at Coffs Harbour on the line at Friday's Showcase meeting.
Super Tonic is unbeaten in four runs on her home track but faces her stiffest test to date in Friday's $30,000 J&K Jarvis Racing Open Hcp (1200m). The mare not only loves her home track, she will also get conditions to suit with the Coffs Harbour track on Thursday morning rated a Heavy 8. She has won three races on soft ground and one in heavy going.
The four-year-old mare took her overall record to four wins from nine starts at her most recent outing at Coffs Harbour on April 19 when she powered away for a four-length win in a Benchmark 65 Hcp (1215m) on a Soft 5.
She has drawn barrier 15 in Friday's event but will come in a couple of slots with scratchings. But the Coffs Harbour-based Bellamy doesn't think the awkward draw is the end of the world.
"The great thing about this Coffs Harbour track is they can really win from anywhere here," he said. "The can lead and win or come around them and win. She's got good gate speed if we need to use it and Peter (Graham) knows this mare very well.
"She's up against some tough, seasoned sprinters on Friday but she does have a few things in her favour. Obviously she loves this track and also handles soft ground very well.
"I guess we're throwing her in the deep end a bit but we really want to get a guide on where she's at and Friday's race should tell us.
"Our Coffs Harbour Cup carnival is coming up in August and if she races well on Friday I know a race like the Daniel Baker Sprint could be a target for her. If not, I can always look for something a little easier."
Super Tonic has been a slow maturer who did not start racing until late in her three-year-old season, winning her first two starts (on a Heavy 9 and a Soft 5) at Coffs Harbour last June and July. Bellamy gave her a break after her third start, an unplaced run behind Another Sin in a TAB Highway at Rosehill on August 12.
The mare resumed in January and won at her fourth run back at Coffs Harbour on February 25 and again two starts later on April 19.
"All her runs this time in have been pretty good really," said Bellamy. "Her three runs at Port Macquarie earlier in the prep were all good and two runs back she ran very well from an awkward draw at the Gold Coast (in a Benchmark 70 behind Char Char) when beaten about a length and a half.
"She's been a bit of a slow maturer and I think she's definitely going to get better as she gets older."
Super Tonic's main rivals in Friday's sprint include the Trevor Hardy-trained pair Elite Dubleo and Youwaitandsee, Armidale mare Prada Miss, Ballina-trained wet-tracker My Cousin Bossy and Gold Coast mare Star Of Night who always races well first-up.
Topweight Flaming Aces, trained on the Gold Coast by Brad Witt, boasts a similar record at Coffs Harbour to Super Tronic, remaining unbeaten in three runs there, most recently when she won the Trevor Hardy Sprint four runs back on February 25.
The Witt stable also has a key runner in the Pier Hotel Benchmark 69 Hcp (1600m) with wet-tracker Balius.
The ex-Sydney galloper had his first run for Witt at the Gold Coast on March 24, romping home in a Benchmark 65 Hcp (1400m) on a Heavy 8. The five-year-old then ran at Coffs Harbour at his next start on April 19, finishing second to Madam Shazam in a Benchmark 65 Hcp (1615m) on a Soft 5.