By Rod Fuller
Following strong performances in recent open class races, Melted Moments looks the testing material in the Panthers Open Handicap at Port Macquarie on Tuesday.
Prominent Armidale trainer Paul Grills continues to extract the best from the Any Given Sunday gelding with a strong win in similar company at his home track two weeks ago.
With a sound placing at Grafton behind Landmarks over 1400 metres under his belt, Melted Moments comes into the race with a perfect preparation and will be aided by the apprentice allowance of promising young rider Leah Kilner.
O’Driscoll will provide strong competition for well credentialed trainer Tas Morton with the Fireside gelding displaying a distinct liking for his home track highlighted by recent wins.
Following a comprehensive victory over Licciola Belle in Benchmark 58 in late October, the O’Reilly gelding continued his rise through the ranks with recent success over Achi Baba.
Peter Graham renews his association with O’Driscoll and his record on the horse together with the conditions and distance of Tuesday’s race is certainly a positive.
The interesting runner in the event is the former Victorian galloper The Kroc, who is now in the capable hands of Matthew McCudden, with the Bullbars gelding successful in a lower grade race at Kilmore two starts ago.
Melted Moments runs third at Grafton on November 19
Smokin’ Suzy is the only runner from the Marc Quinn stable and looks set to break her maiden status in the fourth event following a narrow second behind Bubbles De Beer on the circuit two runs ago while Casino Mondial is well placed in the proceeding event.
The Michael Byers trained gelding has put the writing on the wall with two career placings at Taree and Port and should provide strong opposition in the maiden handicap.
Shelley Beach Road is a mare who possesses great natural ability and was successful at her first-up run from a spell before being beaten just over four lengths in a strong maiden at the Randwick Kensington track.
The Shellscrape mare has been given a slight break by popular local trainer Matthew McCudden, and this could be significant in analysing prospects the Benchmark 66 Handicap.
Other chances on the card are Crystal Kingdom for Neil Godbolt, who looks better suited to his Benchmark 58 assignment than the previous effort on Kempsey Cup day while a repetition of Red
Cupcake’s outstanding debut performance will see her extremely hard to beat in the last race.
It is great to continue the association with Panthers Port Macquarie and the club is indebted to Group General Manager, Jamie Williams, for the continued support provided.
Panthers Club members and valued patrons are welcome to enjoy the outstanding trackside amenities including the catering, beverage and wagering facilities in the Ivan Livermore Grandstand.
With $176,000 in prizemoney on offer, the first event on an eight-race program is scheduled to commences at 1.55pm and a good racing surface together with fine weather should ensure a strong crowd to attend the final meeting of the year.
The president, Greg Delaforce and committee of the Port Macquarie Race Club would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe, happy and successful 2019.
May the festive season provide the gift of good health and happiness and thanks for the support afforded by jockeys, trainers, staff, sponsors and patrons for assisting in another extremely successful year.
The next meetings scheduled to be conducted by the club is on New Year’s Day.
Race 1: 8 Smooth Factor, 2 Dangerous Dan, 11 Oakwoods Hope
Race 2: 7 Smokin’ Suzy, 3 Huey, 11 Miss Powerbelle
Race 3: 1 Casino Mondial, 6 So Inspiring, 3 Beat That
Race 4: 1 Shelley Beach Road, 2 Penfold, 3 Traumatised
Race 5: 2 Melted Moments, 6 O’Driscoll, 8 The Kroc
Race 6: 11 Vision and Prayer, 4 I’ve Got This, 2 Fastquest
Race 7: 2 Crystal Kingdom, 8 Manning Treasure, 5 Eddy Would Go
Race 8: 3 Red Cupcake, 4 Complete Faith, 1 Silver Melody.