By Doug Ryan
A four kilo drop from a near track record win last start enhances Taree seven-year-old gelding Bancroft’s chances of winning the Country Colours Painting and Decorating Open Handicap at Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting at Taree on Monday.
The distance is the same at 1300m, some of the rivals line up again, but there is undeniable class this time in the provincial gallopers.
Trainer Tony Ball chose this race instead of a similar one at Taree last Monday as he knew Bancroft would be better treated in the weights.
It was his first winner since his comeback to training at Taree and Bancroft in only having its second start for him stormed to the lead early and scored by nearly three lengths from Taree mare Valbeata, trained by Bob Milligan, which franked the form by scoring over 1250m at Tare last Monday.
Ball also based his decision not to start in Valbeata’s race in that his winning jockey, Chad Lever, was riding at Nowra but he is back on board this Monday.
“It is a big help when you have a jockey who knows your horse,” Ball said.
“Bancroft seems to go better up on the pace. I knew he had good speed.”
The track record was only about a third of a second from being equalled despite the last 600m being relatively slow at 36.15s.
Bancroft wins at Taree on January 2
Having his first start from a spell in Bancroft’s race was four-year-old gelding Blinkin Artie, trained on the track by Ross Stitt who grabbed a winning double last week at Taree.
Blinkin Artie was a neck behind Valbeata on that occasion and drops 6.5kgs here to give the gelding a winning hope.
Being wide on the turn didn’t help the galloper and Stitt said its weight was felt over the concluding stages.
“He always goes good at the track (four of its five wins) and he should get a favourable sit.”
It would be a sentimental win if Blinkin Artie salutes as it is owned by the late Errol French who was a great supporter of Stitt and the combination enjoyed a multitude of winners.
One of the provincial gallopers with solid form is Wyong eight-year-old gelding Choice Larga, trained by Damien Lane, scratched from Canterbury’s Friday night meeting.
Three starts back the gelding scored by over a length over 1200m at Port Macquarie before an 8th over 1400m at Randwick.
“That was a good, strong Saturday race,” Lane said of the Randwick run.
The gelding has seven wins and prizemoney of nearly $232,000 much more when compared to Bancroft ($83,695) and Blinkin Artie ($100,00).
The latter may be heading for the $35,000 Walcha Cup over 1440m on February 8 but Stitt’s last start winner at home, five-year-old gelding Syrah, is hoping to make it two wins straight in the Colonial Holiday Park—Harrington Benchmark 66 Handicap over 1600m.
It was a terrific run in making up about 10 lengths from the turn to swamp rivals but this time in-form Port apprentice jockey Cejay Graham won’t be on Syrah, she being snapped up by Kempsey trainer Tony Green on handy five-year-old gelding I’ve Got This.
Green said his gelding came off the training track “chirpy” on Wednesday and the freshen up helped his galloper which likes to “get out and go”.
Taree trainer Ross Dawson is hoping his six-year-old mare Lippy And Pearls in the same race is back to the form, with her latest second at Kempsey, to when she scored in the Kempsey Cup in 2017.
Former Port jockey Allan Chau is coming down from Queensland to ride her and Dawson’s $500 buy Let Me Guess in the MVRC Sunday February 10 F & M Maiden Handicap over 1250m, the latter mare having placed at her last two starts.
DOUG RYAN’S SELECTIONS:
RACE 1: Bancroft 1, Blinkin Artie 2, Choice Larga 3.
RACE 2: Karaoke 1, Gottabe Red 2, Labrusco 3.
RACE 3: Intrepidus 1, Holy Reign 2, Moscini 3.
RACE 4: Rosaria Caterina 1, Cortesta 2, Let Me Guess 3.
RACE 5: Ted’s Dream 1, Titus 2, Amajill 3.
RACE 6: Eden Vale 1, Charlie’s Law 2, Victory In Paris 3.
RACE 7: Belle De Vega 1, I’ve Got This 2, Lippy And Pearls 3.