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New Jockey On Sofin Chasing Back-To-Back Port Cups

Bowraville trainer Shannon Fry is hoping the renowned riding skills of Robert Thompson will help trigger a timely return to winning form for Sofin who is chasing back-to-back victories in the $150,000 Carlton Draught Port Macquarie Cup (2000m) on Friday. Sofin was ridden by Ben Looker when she carried 54.5kg to beat the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott-trained Caped Crusader in last year's Port Macquarie Cup after winning the Cup Prelude at her previous start. The mare hasn't been able to win again in 10 subsequent starts, including unplaced effort this campaign in the Coffs Harbour Cup (August 3), Taree Cup (August 20) and Wyong Cup (September 1). Sofin carries 54kg in Friday's Cup and drops 5.5kg on the 59.5kg she had to lump at her most recent outing when a three-length fifth behind Miss Tickles in the Port Macquarie Cup Prelude on September 24. Thompson, the most 'winningest' jockey in Australian racing history and a four-time winner of the Port Macquarie Cup, partners Sofin for the first time on Friday. "There was a bit of a mix-up with Ben (Looker) and it turned out that he was already committed to Brazen in Friday's race," said Fry. "When I had to look for another jockey I was pleased to learn Robert Thompson was available and he's very happy to be riding her. "It's great to have a jockey of Robert Thompson's ability on her. She'll get back and Robert can either keep her out of trouble or get her out of trouble if she strikes any." Fry believes Sofin is going just as well as she was last year when she completed the Port Macquarie Prelude-Cup double. "On paper it might not appear that she's going as well as last year but I'm very happy with her going into this year's Cup," he said. "Her run in the Wyong Cup (6th to Destiny's Kiss) two starts back was pretty good under the circumstances in what was a pretty hot field. "And in the Prelude at Port Macquarie last start she had to carry 59.5kg and about 10kg of that was dead weight in the saddle with little Cejay Graham riding her. She drops to 54kg on Friday, loves the Port Macquarie track, has Robert Thompson riding and will love the softer track - I think she'll run another big race. "We beat Gai's horse last year and it would be a real feather in my cap if I could beat the big Sydney stables again. Sofin's been very good to us so far in her career and I don't think another Port Macquarie Cup is beyond her." Sofin, a $6000 purchase, has already won just over $290,000 in prizemoney from her nine wins and 12 placings. Including the BOBS bonus on Friday's race, Sofin could another $100,000-plus to her earnings if she lands the race, boosted this year to overall prizemoney of $150,000. Powerful Sydney trainers Chris Waller and the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott combination will have two of the key runners in Friday's race. Waller nominated six horses for the Port Macquarie but has settled on topweight Loving Game, to be ridden by Tye Angland, as his only runner. Waterhouse and Bott have Social Element (Rachel King) lining up. Friday's Cup meeting is the first of two back-to-back racedays at Port Macquarie who race again on Saturday with another eight-race program. The Port Macquarie track on Thursday was rated a soft 5 and the rail for Friday's meeting will be in the true position. View the final fields with full form & race replays for Port Macquarie's Country Showcase meeting here

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