Veteran horsewoman Margaret De Gonneville has no doubt about her consistent sprinter Golden Comet running out a strong 1200m when he steps out on his home track at Port Macquarie on Friday.
The four-year-old, winner of four of his 12 starts, chases his third win from six appearances at Port Macquarie when he lines up in the Oxyoptia Open Hcp (1206m).
Golden Comet’s four wins have been around the 1000m-1100m mark, but De Gonneville doesn’t think the 1206m of Friday’s race is of any concern.
The gelding’s only previous run over 1200m was three starts ago when he finished a close-up ninth to Lucciola Belle in the $150,000 MNCRA Country Championships Qualifier at Port Macquarie on February 17.
Golden Comet drew the outside gate in the 13-horse field that day, crossed the field to lead and fought on very strongly to be beaten just under three lengths by the winner, who then went on to finish second to Noble Boy in the Country Championship Final at Randwick on April 6.
“It was a big run in the Country Championship after drawing wide,” said the trainer.
“I’ve always thought he’d have no trouble running out the 1200m once he learned to settle and he is definitely settling better in his races now.”
Golden Comet is coming off a last-start luckless fifth to Bancroft in an 1100m Benchmark 70 on a heavy 8 at Wyong on March 30 when he struck trouble at the 600m.
“He also got galloped on last start at Wyong but was really finishing off the race strongly,” she said. “He came out of that race with a few bumps and nicks but has had a couple of weeks to get over that tough run.
“A firmer track on Friday will certainly suit him and he should be hard to beat back in a small field on his home track where he has two wins, a second and a third from his five starts here and probably should have also won the day he ran second.”
De Gonneville, who has spent a lifetime in racing and was one of Australia’s pioneering female jockeys back in the 1970s, just has a couple of horses in work these days.
Another of her team, Gold Rhapsody, runs at Kempsey on Saturday.
She says Golden Comet can be handful on the training track, but tries his heart out on race days.
“He has dumped his trackriders quite a few times,” she said. “But he’s as honest as they come in his races and always tries his heart out.”
Golden Comet’s biggest threat on Friday looks to be fellow Port Macquarie sprinter The Patriot who carries the topweight of 58kg in the eight-horse field.
The John Sprague-trained four-year-old won first-up over 1008m at Port Macquarie on March 22 then ran an eye-catching second to Hydrazine in The Jackal Flying Hcp (1015m) at Grafton on April 15. He should be hard to hold out over 1206m on Friday.
Robert Thompson takes the ride on The Patriot and also partners the Sprague-trained Chamisal in the Schweppes Class 2 Hcp (1506m).
The former Godolphin galloper was having his third race start and his first run for Sprague when he easily won a Port Macquarie Maiden (1500m) on April 12.
The rail will be out 3m for Friday’s eight-race meeting and the track on Thursday morning was rated a soft6.