By Tony Megahey
While prolific Greg Ryan typically provides the strongest betting push on several favourites at Sunday’s Coonamble Cannonball TAB meeting, five-time Central District’s premiership trainer Brett Thompson and rising apprentice Alena Skerritt offer value.
The Gulgong based former farmer and publican has six representatives from a 40-strong team throughout the eight-race TAB programme and circumstances have fallen into place for Brett’s stable star I’m Imogen in the $35,000 feature sprint.
“Nictock being scratched makes it a very winnable race for my mare at the weights,” Thompson said. “Nictock ran really well in Saturday grade in town.
“She’s come up exceptional this prep, they only got her late in the Gunnedah Lightning and she was dominant running time with 58kg at Tamworth.
“She ran really well in decent grade at Gosford with 61.5kg.
“She’s getting hard to place in the bush as a five-race winner but she’s well in on Sunday with Alena’s claim. From a tidy draw we can lead or be right on pace.
“Alena has ridden this mare all along and she is a really capable apprentice. She has nice hands, horses travel for her, but again it’s still a strong form race with Nictock scratched.”
Four-year-old mare I’m Imogen, who carries just 54kg after Alena’s 1.5kg allowance, was bought by Brett as a yearling and has the imposing record of five wins and eight placings from just 19 starts.
The traditional Cannonball ($35.000) has again assembled one of the strongest fields on the Country racing calendar. Greg Ryan’s mount A Magic Zariz has won seven races from just 19 starts and Love Me Baby, a Doomben winner in December, is six wins from 15 outings and the imposing form doesn’t end there.
Meanwhile Thompson rates Sorry I’m Awesome as a value chance in race five.
“We’ve drawn out wide so will need some luck but his placing at Dubbo was strong and his best run for us yet and he’s in his right race,” he said.
Thompson is excited that his youngest son Jay, a foreman and track work rider, has joined the powerful Kris Lees team at Newcastle. Brett’s other sons Ben and Kurt and their mother Kelly make up the family racing organisation.
Coonamble officials are anticipating a typically bumper crowd with the track rated a Good 4 at present and fine weather forecast.