By Geoff Newling
Cocktail Time makes a rare appearance on his home track when he jumps from barrier eight in today’s $20,000 Les Howard Willow Tree Cup (1450m) at Quirindi.
The eight-year-old gelding son of Sippin’ Bourbon, who has won five of his 31 starts, has only had the one run on his home track. That came way back in a 2012 1450m Maiden won by Tiger Bassie where he finished seventh.
He has since won more than $116,000 for his owner/trainer Peter Mills and wife Kym and his trainer is hopeful he might relish the second chance at home.
“He’s got a fair bit of weight though (63kg) and while he’s ready to roll he’s never been a good weight carrier,” Peter Mills said.
“It’s going to be tough to win. He’s a little bit fitter than he was. I expect a bold showing and would love to win it.”
Coastal apprentice Chloe Baker will ride Cocktail Time and claim 2kgs, reducing his weight to 61kg in a field also including recent Quirindi Cup winner Secret Web.
South African jockey Keagan Latham will ride Secret Web who is one of two Paul Perry-trained horses in the Les Howard Willow Tree Cup field. Perry also runs Peggy’s Cove – a four-year-old daughter of Choisir.
Peggy’s Cove has won four of her 24 starts and jumps from barrier one with leading HNWRA jockey Rachael Murray on board.
Peter Mills also starts maidener Bucklette in the first race of the day - the Willow Tree Inn Fillies and Mares Maiden Plate (1200m). Tamworth Cup winning jockey Josh Adams rides the five-year-old mare, who has had five starts.
“She’s the last of the line,” Peter Mills said of a family dating back to dual Tamworth winning Gold Buckle (2007 and 2008).
“We’ve had a few issues with her.”
He’s added winkers in the hope it might spark her up. She will jump from barrier two.
The Les Howard Willow Tree Cup is one of nine races on the TAB program and beginning a big week for the Hunter North West Racing Association with the $2million two-day Scone Cup Carnival on Friday/Saturday.
Nominations for the two day Scone meeting close at 11am today. The $200,000 Scone Cup (1600m) is the feature race on Friday’s card also including the $100,000 Inglis 2YO Challenge and $80,000 Noel Leckie Country Cup (1400m).