By Ray Hickson
Nothing but quotes from the trainer of every runner in Sunday's $150,000 CDRA Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Mudgee.
1. El Mo (trainer Gayna Williams): “He may get there, he may not (because of a foot abscess). Everything else has been good, he trialled really nicely a couple of weeks ago and I was pretty happy with him. He’s a horse that needed a draw because he needs to get cover. He can over race and if you want to ease him back he will fight you. He’s not the best listener. If he runs it’ll be a difficult job for Adam.’’
2. Bel Diablo (trainer David Smith): “It seems from the other qualifiers you need that Benchmark 70 grade horse in town and two starts back that’s what he won at Canterbury. He’s on the right track and would be one of the better credentialed horses in the field. I think the timing is right looking at how he’s come up. We’ve done a fair bit of work with him, ideally we would have liked that first up run (he was due to resume at Randwick on February 15) but we weren’t going to bust him on a wet track in town. He’s going in about 80 per cent fit, we are expecting him to make the final and that’s why we haven’t screwed him right down yet.’’
3. Beeokay (trainer Gayna Williams): “His work has been fantastic since that race at Warwick Farm where the jockey said never run him on a heavy track again. The 1400m is a question mark with him but he’s finding his line in his work so I’d love to see him over the distance. He needs to be ridden quietly and there should be plenty of speed on so that would suit him.’’
4. Healing Hands (trainer Gayna Williams): “I like the horse but I’m never one to over rate horses, it makes me cringe when horses get prematurely over rated. He’s still a country Class 4 horse and he has to prove himself a bit to me. Even if he’s three deep with cover it wouldn’t bother me and I think he’s better off there than to draw inside. If they go hard and steady up in front he’s not the sort of horse that will sit and sprint. He’s a long striding horse that needs to wind up and is better with galloping room.’’
5. I Stole Your Love (trainer Roy McCabe): “She didn’t let down in the heavy at all so we are hoping for a dry track. She trialled nicely, she got running, and ran pretty quick time so she is right up to the mark. The only thing that worries me is the seven furlongs, she’s never tried it. There’ll be a bit of speed on, she is a natural leader but if they are going to run it hard we can sit in behind them. She’ll have to be at her absolute best to beat them.”
6. Nations (trainer Andrew Molloy): “I’m very happy with him but fitness wise like a lot we are behind the eight ball. So he’s underdone and hopefully he just takes the benefit out of the first run. At 1400m second-up he is a little bit soft in condition but he is the best we can have him. Ideally we will try to ride him quiet, he can’t sit on the speed and win over 1400m with the preparation we’ve had. That’s his chance to finish off.’’
7. Captain Jimmy (trainer David Smith): “I still think he’s a real dark horse if he turns up on the day. Off his trackwork it wouldn’t shock me to see him win it. He’s a nice big horse with a good stride on him and very athletic. He can run some pretty quick time on the track. He went sore in his Bathurst run over his back, it took us a while to get on top of it, but I wasn’t too disappointed with his Dubbo run. He missed the kick and never travelled, found a length and held it to the line.’’
8. Electrified (trainer Dean Mirfin): "Having Hugh Bowman on is going to be a big asset from that barrier. We just have to make the most of it, he's a tractable kind of horse that can adapt. He's no good on a wet track and we knew that going into the other day, his second run with Hugh on it on a dry track was much better and we were happy with it. If you go through his form it is generally fourth up when he runs best so on a dry track and fourth-up I expect him to run well."
9. Press Box (trainer Dean Mirfin): "She's not a big mare so she has beaten the handicapper and is coming in nice and fit. Her run the other day wasn't too bad, you look at it on paper and you think she got beaten seven lengths and it's not great but she drops from a Group 3 to a Class 5 in the bush. She's cherry ripe and we are expecting her to run as well as she did in the Kosciuszko and hopefully that's good enough to do well.''
10. Speed Camera (trainer Wanda Ings): “She has an ideal draw and I’m very happy with her. We’ve planned it for a long time, she’s ideally a 1600m horse which works in well if she happens to go on to the Final. She’s a big mare but she doesn’t need a lot of hard work so we gave her a trial then went on to win convincingly first-up. She’s not a speed horse, she pulls hard if she sees daylight. She’ll be picking them off after about 700m and work her way into it. She’s under the radar, I think she’s the smoky. She’s the one that can knock them out because we haven’t seen the best of her.”
11. Tale Of The Kraut (trainer Dean Mirfin): "She didn't handle the track the other day, I know she led but she led under pressure. Jay (Ford) said don't ride her like that so we are going to ride her a bit more conservatively. We don't want to get too far back but she is a mare who might just jump and take herself forward, we'd like to get some cover and we're certainly not going to try to lead."
12. Smart Moove (trainer Brett Thompson): "The race at Canterbury the other day we knew was too short for her but we wanted to see her hitting the line like she did. The barrier is not ideal, you don't want to be going right back just to get in. She's funny, sometimes she jumps right on the bunny and sometimes like the other night she's happy to just relax and go out the back. She pulled a front shoe in the run at Canterbury and was dipping, once she balanced up she hit the line strongly. Luckily Mudgee is a 400m straight and we have a chance. We have to be patient, not go before the corner like a lot of jockeys do at Mudgee, you've got to realise you're on a fair horse and are a chance of picking them up."
13. Ave (trainers Don & Andrew Ryan): “If we can get her on her day I think she will be quite competitive. We were a little disappointed the other day, Eleanor (Webster-Hawes) came back and said to whack the blinkers on her and this is as good a time as any to put them on. To us the barrier is ideal, Eleanor said she didn’t seem so happy inside runners so that will only be a help to us. We’re going there thinking she has a reasonably good each-way chance.’’
14. Divine Jewel (trainer Michael Mulholland): “I threw the nomination in on the way to Tamworth the other day because I thought if she won she’d get in. Midfield is the best I think I can go with her but she is coming off a win and she will get the 1400m strongly. She is going to be back and she’s got to have luck. Coming around that corner I want everything to fan and she’s just behind them and gets a run at them.”
15. Indiana Wolf (trainer Sharon Jeffries): “He had a long time off and it has taken him time to find form and his run last time was a lot better. If he goes anything like how he was in Victoria he would be right in it. He’ll get back and the harder they go the better it will suit him. I think the horse is a wet tracker so we are hoping for some storms just before the Championship.’’