By Ray Hickson
Nothing but quotes from the trainers of all 14 runners in Sunday's $150,000 WRA Country Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Dubbo.
1. A Martin Placepick (Cecil Hodgson, Coonamble): “He’s like a greyhound, there’s no fat on him, and he’s a big horse and I thought Parkes might flatten him. Parkes is a good three and a half hours from here and it was a hot day, it’s surprised me how well he pulled up because he was underdone. I think he would want to win pretty easily at Dubbo. It’s a different class of horse when you get to Sydney.’’
2. Thermosa (Rodney Robb, Nyngan): “I haven’t given him a lot of work since (Parkes) because it’s been very hot but we have a pool here and a treadmill. He’s a fit horse, it’s too late to give him a gallop. If I haven’t got him right now I’ve failed. The barriers didn’t do us any favours but they all start from a level mark.’’
3. Good Host (Justin W Stanley, Narromine): “He’s probably looking for 2000m but I’ve had to keep him very fresh for the race. There should be a bit of speed, he’ll come from behind, and if there is speed it could be run to suit him.’’
4. Westlink (Darren Hyde, Dubbo): “Every time we ask him to do it he’ll do it and think he will be a better horse again next prep. I can’t get the horse any fitter, he’s a four-year-old and if he’s going to peak now is the time.’’
5. Get To The Chopper (Justin W Stanley, Narromine): “I said to Chad Lever at his first run back he’ll probably run out of petrol at the 200m mark but that was where his fitness was at. He finished off to the furlong as I expected. He’s improved a lot, he worked extremely well and he loves the track.’’
6. California Fox (Allan Gibson, Dubbo): “It’s his third run and it should be his best run this preparation. I’m not real happy about the barrier draw but we can’t do anything about that. I don’t think he will disgrace himself that’s for sure.''
7. The Rouseabout (Justin W Stanley, Narromine): “He’s a lazy sort of horse, an up and coming horse who is still developing. His runs have been okay but he hasn’t done as much as he should have done. I still give him a chance, he has nice ability but has to put his mind on it. If we bounce him out and put him on the pace and have his mind on the job it might help.”
8. Sons Of Bourke (Clint Lundholm, Dubbo): “He’s had the perfect preparation into the race. I’ve had a question mark on him at 1400m but he finished off 1200m at Cowra really well. We’ll ride him neutral out of the gates, he’ll be in the back half and hopefully storming home late.’’
9. Mango Liston (Rodney Robb, Nyngan): “He’s a picnicker, his record is all right but I’ve seen a lot of good picnic horses come good. The other day at Geurie he jumped out and was too good.’’
10. Huang Zhong (Rodney Robb, Nyngan): “He’s an improving horse who will need a bit of luck. This time in work he has won three out of four, a Sky 2 maiden and a couple of picnic races. Luck is going to play a big part.’’
11. Sprezzatura (Clint Lundholm, Dubbo): “We planned to have him back after running such a good race last year coming out of a maiden. His first two runs back were really good, his last two have been pretty fair. We’ve kept him fresh and got him back onto his toes and I think he can bounce back with a good run.’’
12. Ben Shoof (Clint Lundholm, Dubbo): “He’s done a good job this time. A bunch of young fellows in Dubbo own him. He had a tendon issue, we gave him 12 months and he’s come back and won a race and been very competitive. Obviously in weaker races but he likes racing at home and he’s drawn a good alley. He’ll look like a winner at some stage.’’
13. Coroglen (Justin W Stanley, Narromine): “He’s probably a bit better over a shorter course but he’s eligible for the race and you never know so I chucked him in.’’
14. Bells ‘n’ Bows (Rodney Robb, Nyngan): “I’ve been saying for months she’s a rough chance. She’s a good little mare, she just gives away a bit of start. The other day she was held up and never had any galloping room. I thought if she got room she’d have finished closer.’’