By Ray Hickson
It's the final chance to gain a spot in the $500,000 Newhaven Park Country Championships Final (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 6.
Here's nothing but quotes from the trainer of every runner in the $50,000 Country Championships Wild Card (1280m) at Muswellbrook on Sunday.
1. Alot Like Home (Matthew Robinson): “His last run at Port Macquarie was super, he had to make a long sustained run. I think we will go back from the barrier because it looks like there’s nice speed in the race. We haven’t made up our mind 100 per cent but that looks like the thing to do. He’s well and we’ll be there with bells on.’’
2. A Martin Placepick (SCRATCHED).
3. Art D’Amour (Alaecia Bennett): “I don’t think he liked the firm track (first-up) but he hasn’t taken a backward step since. I didn’t see any reason not to give him another shot. The 1280m definitely suits him and a bit more give in the ground would too. He’s better than what he showed at Tamworth.’’
4. Cosmic Engine (Brett Cavanough): “He had a setback structurally leading into Tamworth but he’s over that and I thought he trialled really good at Scone. We are going to 1280m first-up from a wind operation but he couldn’t be any better. He has more ability than most horses in the race on paper and he’s ready to go.’’
5. Noble Boy (Todd Blowes): “He had a really solid gallop with Up Trumpz, a really handy horse of Joe Cleary’s, at Queanbeyan (on Monday) and he handled him easily. I’m never overly confident, I just know the horse is well and his work has been outstanding. Hopefully they just run along a little bit more, that will help him.’’
6. Beauty Best (Melanie O’Gorman): “I thought it was a nice first-up run at Tamworth and I feel the horse has improved with the run. I think he will run a good race on Sunday.’’
7. Moobi (Cody Morgan): “He’s probably going to be back at Muswellbrook but you’d like to think he’d be travelling better. He’s come on and if he could hit the line like he has previously he’s still a top two chance. I’ve kept his work short and sharp and I think a different horse will turn up.’’
8. Supreme Polarity (Nick Olive): “He went great at Goulburn, I think the horse is in great order. He’s not drawn the best but he will still race well. If he runs up to what he did at Goulburn he’s definitely a chance and I think coming back in distance suits him.’’
9. Takookacod (SCRATCHED).
10. Let’s Rebelle (Jenny Graham): “She’s a very good mare and she’ll put herself in the race, I think she will be very competitive. With the barrier she has drawn she’ll be in front of a lot of them and she should run quite well.’’
11. Hit The Target (Stephen Jones): “It was a terrific run (at Tamworth), the winner didn’t leave the fence and had all the breaks. He had to do it tough, be used up and off the track and I think he should have won the race. He’s never given us any problem and everything is good with him, he’ll be right there just behind them and he always finishes off nicely. I’m very confident.’’
12. Star Boy (Brett Cavanough): “He hits the ground hard and post-Christmas we that those 40 degree days and he got a bit of heel bruising. Some horses can get over it in a week or 10 days others it takes weeks, it’s an ongoing management problem. He’s sound now and I thought he trialled very good, I thought he’d take more improvement out of his trial than Cosmic Engine."
13. Safe Landing (Kurt Goldman): “He came through Goulburn in good shape, he did feel the track a bit that day and was a little jarred up for a couple of days. He’s come on well since. Coming back from 1400m to 1280m we can probably afford to have him a little keen, he’s drawn ideally to get a good run.’’
14. Embezzlement (Barbara Joseph, Paul & Matt Jones): “The firmness of the track was the biggest thing against her at Goulburn. She prefers some cut in the ground. She pulled a muscle in that race and we took it easy on her for a week and ramped her up in the last fortnight. We’d be looking to go forward and take a sit in behind. If she gets through and it happens to rain for the Final she’d be in the race up to her ears.’’
15. Radiant Choice (Stirling Osland): “I thought he improved a touch, we got a check from the eventual winner half way up the straight and it probably found the end of him. He’s tightened up from that run, I’d imagine we will be leading and what happens after that will happen. Obviously we’re a long shot in the race but we are in it.’’