By Doug Ryan
In-form trainers Port Macquarie’s Neil Godbolt and Taree’s Michael Byers should provide plenty of interest with their charges in the feature Wingham Beef Exports Cup Benchmark 60 Handicap (1250m) at Taree’s TAB meeting on Tuesday.
Godbolt is coming off nearly having five winners at Kempsey on Tuesday whereas Byers is keen to add to the win of Sheza Gypsy in the Harrington Cup at Taree-Wingham Race Club’s last meeting.
Godbolt has nominated three-year-old filly Artova which is on trial for a start in the $70,000 Arrowfield Queen Of The North Fillies & Mares Benchmark 75 Handicap at Port’s Showcase TAB meeting on February 3. His rival has nominated seven-year-old gelding Clunes Rocket which he hopes will add another cup to its career, having won the Gloucester Cup and been placed in the Cessnock and Wauchope Cups.
Godbolt had two winners and three seconds with the runner-ups having a combined total of less than a length from making it five wins at Kempsey. His faith in Artova, which won four races as a two-year-old, was restored somewhat last start when she finished third to promising Newcastle filly Bonita over 1000m at Taree on January 8 after running last at her resuming run on the Beaumont Newcastle Track previously.
“She showed improvement and finished off good last start,” he said. “I hope she will be better over more distance and if she runs a decent race she will be nominated for the Queen Of The North.”
Byers was disappointed by the run of Clunes Rocket at Port last start after a flashing second on his home track previously but there were excuses. The gelding from the ace barrier became locked on the fence, pulled and over-raced. When Clunes Rocket saw daylight, there was no “gas left in the tank."
“I am hoping for a better run and the in-form apprentice Chloe Baker will help with her three kilo claim.”
Seventeen noms have been received for the cup with horses coming from Wyong to Grafton. One capable of springing a surprise is Torquay, trained at Newcastle by Paul Perry, the horse having run a good fourth when resuming run here last start on a track where the galloper has three wins.
Byers has a couple of good hopes at Taree, both of them being related to Sheza Gypsy. They are four-year-old gelding Desmon’s Pride which was beaten in a photo finish at Coffs Harbour last start when third and first starter, three-year-old filly Sheza Lily, being by Zoffany, both being out of the same dam.
Desmon’s Pride will be ridden by Robert Thompson (who was also on Sheza Gypsy when she won last start) in the Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1400m and the other, which has had two good trials, is in the Maiden Plate over 1250m.
Two gallopers which could be chasing Country Championships glory, Bonita, trained by Jason Deamer and last start Taree winner, Dubai Sights, trained on the track by Matthew Robinson, add plenty of interest to the Class 3 Handicap over 1000m.