By Gary Harley
Champion country trainer Brett Cavanough doesn’t venture to Newcastle Racecourse very often, but on Saturday he’s sending a talented mare to Broadmeadow before she heads to stud this season.
Described by her trainer as a ‘nutcase’, Hardspot, a six-year-old mare in only her ninth start will contest the opening event - the Sharp Electronics Group Open Handicap (900m).
She has won four of her eight starts and in two of her wins at Tamworth earlier this year, Hardspot clocked sub 1-10.00 for the 1200m trip.
In her only Newcastle start in April the mare blitzed a smart Benchmark 70 field on a soft track. Hardspot has not raced since failing on a heavy track at Wagga in April.
Scone-based Cavanough, when contacted on Thursday night, said it literally depends on which Hardspot decides to turn up.
“She is a nutcase and very highly-strung, however, if Hardspot turns up in the right mood she will give them something to chase.
"It is only 900 metres and she has had a couple of jumpouts. She is fit enough.
"I shouldn’t have run Hardspot on that bog track at Wagga but the owners lived there so she went around.
This mare is booked into the Vinery Stud stallion Headwater in the spring so she is in the twilight of her racing career. She wears blinkers for the first time in a race but she has worked in them,” Cavanough said.
The three-time NSW Country Premiership winner and former World Sheep Shearing Champion offered little comment when asked his response to a recent plea for more shearers in the state: “That was 20 years ago and shearing is just a memory,” the ‘Big Fella’ said.
The Snowden training partnership has accepted with four runners in the 1200m Yarraman Park Maiden Handicap (1200m). The Snitzel colt, Rule Of Law has the best form of the quartet.
He was beaten two lengths by the smart Yardstick in his only start on a heavy track at Canterbury on July 22. The colt has drawn well and Newcastle premier jockey Andrew Gibbons has the mount.
‘Gibbo” rode the 2011 Grafton Ramornie Handicap winner Jerezana for Peter Snowden.
Newcastle’s champion trainer Kris Lees only has one runner at Newcastle with Wild Fortune in the 1300m Red Funnel Fillies and Mares Benchmark 64 Handicap.
Wild Fortune has drawn barrier 4 with Aaron Bullock aboard and loves a wet track and so the rain that arrived enhances the mare's prospects.
The four-year-old was doing her best work late when a close fourth at Gosford on July 25. The longer trip and the spacious track is ideal.