Published on 06 January 2016

Here’s DOUG RYAN’S REVIEW of TAREE WINGHAM RACES on Monday 4th of January 2016.

Heavy rain causing a change in track conditions allowed seven-year-old local gelding Blinkin Rules to spring a surprise in winning the Wingham Beef Exports Cup at Taree Wingham Race Club’s TAB meeting on Monday.
Some punters snapped up the 14-1 odds on the Ross Stitt-trained galloper which posted its fifth win in the wet and at the track.
Blinkin Rules started at 15-2 odds and was able to fight out a long neck win from another well backed local gelding, Chalcedony, which firmed from 6-1 to 7-2,for the Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1400m.
Rain set in just before the first race and by the time Blinkin Rules raced the track was downgraded to a heavy one, upsetting the chances of some of the favoured in-form gallopers.
Stitt said Blinkin Rules, having its 69th start for its 11th win, was a track specialist and the win would give much delight to Tamworth owner Errol French who hasn’t been very well of late.
Port Macquarie apprentice jockey Melinda Graham, who rode a winning double, said the grey gelding was keen early but she managed to position it where he was comfortable in the run.
The long neck win was the same margin as her earlier win on Hawkesbury five-year-old gelding Our Sarastro, trained by Connie Greig, in the Mid Coast Bearings Class 3 Handicap over 1600m.
Greig had brought a team of gallopers to Taree and the success of the 8-1 chance gave her reason to smile as it was her first win at the track for a long time of trying.
“I have been here without luck and the rain probably suited my galloper as he is a free rolling type”, she said.
Graham said the gelding “carted up the field” and was strong on the line.
Taree trainer Bob Milligan’s Alma Girl may have had unsuitable conditions in her running fourth in the cup but it wasn’t the case with lightly raced Nicco’s Lass (9-4 to 6-4) which came from the outside barrier, led, and romped home by five lengths for Taree jockey Scott Thurlow in the David Roper Memorial Maiden Handicap over 1000m.
Since resuming from a spell, the three-year-old filly has placed twice at the Bushland Drive track and she showed great speed to register a good time before the track became too wet.
Milligan said the filly had been knocking on the door for a win and she was bred to get over more distance.
Hall Of Fame jockey Robert Thompson took advantage of the conditions to post a winning double on seven-year-old Wyong mare Koori Flyer (9-2),trained by Les Tilley, in the first race, the Sealed Air Foodcare Fillies & Mares Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1000m,and on first-starter, three-year-old filly Tennessee Fling (5-2),trained at Broadmeadow by David Atkins, in the Hepworths & Cellsera 3YO Maiden over 1250m.
Thompson said that Koori Flyer, which travelled rearwards early, was “going to win a long way from home” as the field ran hard early to allow him to finish hard late.
Tennessee Fling had the benefit of two barrier trials and after being fourth early careered away for a four lengths win to suggest she has plenty of promise.
Local six-year-old mare Aim For Glory gave trainer Bob Haire a much needed lift in spirits after bouts of illness in the past few years to score a dogged win for apprentice jockey Kaylee Kirkwood in the Hillard & Berry Solicitors Maiden Plate over 1400m.
“She has been working fantastic”, said a happy Kirkwood who had a half-head to spare on the mare on the line, the galloper coming in for some support in firming from 30-1 to start at 20-1 ($28 on the TAB for a win).
Four-year-old gelding Baio (4-1 to 5-2) took advantage of the track downgrade to lead all the way for Kempsey jockey Terry Treichel and Broadmeadow trainer Benjamin Smith, to score by a length in the Wayne Richardson Sales Entires & Geldings Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1000m.
Racing returns to Taree for a TAB meeting on Tuesday the 19th of January.

Published on 18 October 2015


Local trainer Ross Stitt, a close friend of the late Don Hopkins and Ivan Livermore, was chuffed to win the inaugural $40,000 Cup in their honour with six-year-old mare Shazza’s Bubbles at Taree Wingham Race Club’s highly successful meeting before a big crowd on Friday.
Hall Of Fame jockey Robert Thompson, who has ridden many winners for Stitt and Hopkins, had an armchair ride to score by a widening three lengths from equal 11-4 favourite, five-year-old gelding Harry Hotspur, trained at Wyong by Kim Waugh, two lengths ahead of outsider, Malleable ($10.50 a place),trained at Kempsey by Barry Ratcliff.
“You could have won on her,”Thompson said to Stitt in bringing the mare back to the winner’s stall.
Stitt said the mare would continue to improve as she aims her next start towards the Muswellbrook Gold Cup over 1500m on Melbourne Cup day.
“She has improved since last campaign and showed the same dash over the concluding stages as she did in her barrier trial (won by 9.8 lengths).”
Thompson said Hopkins and Livermore were “champion blokes” who he rode a heap of winners for.
“This win has put Ross back on the map,” he said jokingly.
Harry Hotspur, easy in the betting, led into the straight but in a few strides Shazza’s Bubbles left him after tracking just behind the leaders.
At the presentation ceremony, club chairman Greg Coleman, paid tribute to the deeds done for country racing on the Mid North Coast by Hopkins and Livermore in more than three decades.
“Both men would be happy with today’s racing.”
Jon Hopkins said of his father that he would be honoured to have a race named after him.
“He would be extremely happy that Ross won as Dad had many horses with him,”he said.
Part-owner Ken Blackett paid tribute to Stitt for turning the mare, which never raced as a two-year-old,around to win her eighth race at her 35th start.
It was a big day for long-priced winners but one which defied the trend was the shortest priced of the day, Wyong five-year-old mare Queen Of Oz,trained by Les Tilley, it being backed from 9-4 to 11-8 and gave punters some relief and Thompson a winning double in the Pre-Christmas Raceday Functions Maiden Handicap over 1400m, scoring by nearly two lengths at her 14th start.
The meeting kicked off with Broadmeadow trainer Barry Lawrence,having his first runner at Taree for two years, scoring with four-year-old mare Darbies Blugirl, ridden by Matt Bennett, for a three lengths win in the Stacks Law Firm 4YO’s & Upwards Maiden Plate over 100m at odds of 15-1 with bookies (paid $25.80 on TAB).
First-starter three-year-old gelding Rainbow River, trained on the track by Bob Milligan and ridden by Taree jockey Scott Thurlow, won by a short head in the last bound at 30-1 ($84.60) in the Manning River Times 3YO Maiden Plate over 1000m.
As much as 40-1 was bet about six-year-old gelding Double Plugger, a first winner at the track for Broadmeadow trainer Jeremy Smith and sixth winner for apprentice jockey Mikayla Weir, before it start at 8-1 for a neck win in the Saxbys Soft Drinks Class 2 Handicap over 1000m.
Broadmeadow trainer Ken Lantry was happy to see his six-year-old mare Ambivalent (8-1,$11 TAB),ridden by Andrew Gibbons fresh from a holiday in Hawaii, score by a half-length after 18 months out of the winner’s list in the 2RE-Max FM Benchmark 60 Handicap over 2000m.
A wide barrier didn’t stop five-year-old Wyong gelding Paradale putting the boot further into punters in scoring at 25-1 ($65.80 TAB) by a short head for trainer Rodney Bailey and jockey Chris O’Brien in the Congratulations Doug Ryan Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1600m.
Another short head winning margin went to Taree four-year-old mare Mosgiel Lucy (8-1),trained by Matthew Robinson and ridden by Ben Looker in the Melbourne Cup Day At Taree Class 1 Handicap over 1250m.
Racing returns to Bushland Drive Racecourse on Friday, October 23, for a TAB meeting conducted by Krambach Race Club, the feature being the $20,000 Krambach Cup over 1600m.

Published on 27 May 2014

For the first time in a number of years the Taree Wingham club conducted a meeting in May.  The weather was fine and sunny, the track and surrounds were presented in a beautiful condition and a good crowd in attendance with racing on a Dead 4 surface that gave every horse a winning chance.  


Port Macquarie gelding Rum Tum Tugger had victory snatched from it right on the line with a sterling effort by Broadmeadow mare Slots at Taree Wingham Race Club’s TAB meeting at Bushland Drive Racecourse, Taree,on Monday.
Broadmeadow jockey Andrew Gibbons gave the gelding the run of the race for trainer Wayne Wilkes, hit the front halfway down the straight, but couldn’t withstand the flashing run of Slots, making up six lengths wide out from the bend into the straight, in the Book The Winning Post Function Centre For July Class 2 Handicap over 1257m.
Slots (7-4,paid $3.20 on TAB) made it two wins from four starts at the track for trainer Grant Marshall, and will probably line up for a race at the club’s next TAB meeting on Friday June 6, before heading to Brisbane for a campaign.
“That was a big effort to win,” said Marshall.
“This horse has improved five lengths from when it was winning here last preparation.
“She should have won when resuming at Scone last start (stewards noted that Slots lost three lengths at the start, was checked near the 150m,and was beaten 1.7 lengths).”
Port bookmaker Graham Cook best offered 7-4 odds about Slots and also kept three-year-old filly Stardance, striving for three wins in a row for Port trainer Marc Quinn, a similar quote but it was Rum Tum Tugger (9-2) which gave most cheek.
Quinn’s filly led into the straight but found the early speed and rise in class too much and finished well back.
Rum Tum Tugger should be followed after having two wins and the second from only eight starts whereas Slots showed plenty of class for Wyong jockey Luke Cumberland in giving up to six kilos away to its rivals and should win plenty more.

Wyong trainer Kristen Buchanan may only have 14 horses in work but she again showed her strength with a win and a nose second on the seven-race card.  Four-year-old mare Lucky News (2-1),ridden by Chris O’Brien, was given a copybook ride to give the galloper’s its fifth win from 21 starts for Buchanan in the Eddie’s Fresh Chickens Handicap over 1312m.  Buchanan noted that Lucky News again tended to switch off once in front late, this trait worrying her as it can lead to a defeat.  O’Brien noted the trait but had her going full steam in the shadows of the post to score by just under a length from Taree gelding Road To Summer (9-1),trained by Melissa Harrison.

The bob of the head resulted in Buchanan’s four-year-old gelding Mobster (15-4) being beaten by Coffs Harbour gelding Purrvosa (4-1),trained by Brett Bellamy and ridden by Jasen Watkins, in the Townhead Fruit & Vegetables Country Class 1 Plate over 1614m, it being its second win in a row.

Two-year-old gelding Blinkin Awesome (14-1,paid $20.60 TAB),trained by Ross Stitt at Taree and ridden by his jockey Scott Thurlow, did plenty wrong but still won by a half-length in the All Pro Chemical & Hospitality Supplies Maiden Handicap over 1007m.  The galloper was only having its second start, was giving age away to rivals, was slow away and was checked in the run.  “That was some win,” said Stitt who was elated with the Errol French-owned galloper as it also won a $5000 BOBS bonus along with prizemoney of $8,200 for connections.

Visiting horses again were to the fore with Broadmeadow three-year-old gelding Danger Mark (11-8),trained by Alan Scorse and ridden by apprentice Samantha Clenton, starting the roll in the Angel Cove Sauvignon Blanc Maiden Plate over 1257m and probably earning itself a spell with the half-neck victory.

Hawkesbury trainer Tony McEvoy again enjoyed success travelling north when four-year-old mare Coco Miss (2-1) came late wide out for Port apprentice Andrew Adkins, to score a head win in the McGrath’s Meats Class 3 Handicap over 1007m.

Taree trainer Bart Dening finally got a win out of four-year-old gelding Flying Native (9-2 to 13-4),owned by a syndicate headed by Frank Elmer, of Harrington, and ridden a patient race by Broadmeadow jockey Dale Spriggs, in the Saxby’s Celebrating 150 years Maiden Handicap over 1412m.  It had placed five times and was having its 12th start in scoring by just over a length.  A happy Elmer said: ”It has been a long time between drinks.”

Racing returns to Bushland Drive Racecourse on Friday June 6 for the big Wingham Cup TAB program.

Published on 09 March 2015

A great couple of days for Taree Trainers horses. Congratulations to Michael Byers winning the MNCRA Heat of the Country Championships with Sheza Gypsy at Port Macquarie on Friday. Best of luck in the Championships final on the 4th of April at Royal Randwick. Matthew Robinson then had a win with Sprite Zah in the BM 60 Handicap also at Port Macquarie. Bindi Cheers had a win with Phrases in the Listed Randwick City Stakes over 2000 metres at Royal Randwick on Saturday.  It was Bindi's first win in a Listed race. Ross Stitt had a win with Blinkin Rules at Grafton on Saturday.  Congratulations to all trainers and owners of these horses.

Published on 01 May 2014

The race club is very pleased to announce that the Manning Valley Business Chamber will be holding their 2014 Awards Dinner at the Winning Post Function Centre on Friday the 1st of August 2014.  The Business Awards Dinner is one of the major functions held in Taree each year with over 300 people expected to attend this year's event.  The launch of the Awards is being held on Thursday the 1st of May and race club CEO Brian Leggett and Functions Manager Greg Hile will be representing the club at the Awards launch function.

Published on 04 February 2015


              BY DOUG RYAN

Australia’s most winning jockey Robert Thompson claimed four winners, including one for his mother, at Taree Wingham Race Club’s TAB meeting at Bushland Drive Racecourse on Tuesday.
The tally could have been six but for a nose and a long head second on the nine-race card where the track, first rated as heavy, improved substantially with Scone trainer Luke Griffith, who had three of the winners with Thompson, saying, ”The track is unbelievable.”
The two combined to win with three-year-old filly Incensual (5-4 to 10-9on),Shower Of Hearts (4-1 to 11-4) and Stargrill Boy (4-1 to 11-4),while his mother Phyllis’s winner was first-starter Fabry (5-1),trained at Port Macquarie by Neil Godbolt.
Thompson found nine-year-old gelding Dane’s Bullet (10-1) too strong when beaten a long head on even-money favourite, Taree trainer Ross Stitt’s Shazza’s Bubbles which is headed towards the $50,000 Arrowfield Queen Of The North at Port on February 13.
His nose defeat was by Port outsider Lopresti ($36.20 TAB),trained by Wayne Wilkes, on Taree gelding Nonino (9-2),trained by Michael Byers, with Dubai Dusk from the stable of Mick Dwyer of Broadmeadow only a further nose back in a sensational finish to the Saxby Soft Drinks Raceday - March 17 Handicap over 1614m.
Fabry is a half-brother to former city slicker Theseo, had been in the stable of Peter Moody, was having its first start and led all the way in the Special Events At The Winning Post Function Centre Maiden Handicap over 1007m.
Similar owners, including Thompson’s son, Simon, raced mare Al Nova for prizemoney of about $135,000 when she was on lease from Emirates Park and they have secured a three-year lease on Fabry from the same source.
“If he is half as good as Theseo we will have some fun” said Simon Thompson, foreman for the Godbolt stable.
His mother said ”That was a big effort for his first start.”
Filly Incensual was stepping up from her first start win over 1257m at Taree to 1614m of the New Sponsors Welcome At Taree Class 1 Plate and won nicely by 1.5 lengths to suggest she is above average.  
“I hope she progresses to go to town next preparation, ”said Griffith.
The going away win by just over a length of three-year-old filly Shower Of Hearts in the Exchange Hotel Class 3 Handicap over 1257m,her fourth from only nine starts, may have earned her a start in  the $100,000 Tamworth qualifier for The Championships in April at Randwick.
Griffith led in his first winning treble at Taree when Stargrill Boy lasted by a head in the 2015 Taree Cup Day—August 23 Class 2 Plate over 1007m.
“I love coming here…it is such a good track” he said.
Three-year-old gelding Zigbee (11-2),trained at Taree by Bindi Cheers and ridden by Port jockey Allan Chau, was beaten 11.5 lengths over 2100m at Lismore on Saturday but obviously enjoyed being back home to score a dogged short head win over Broadmeadow’s Pinot Gris 15-4) in the Can Assist Fund Raising—April 4 Benchmark 59 Handicap over 2018m.
“My horse relaxed today whereas at Lismore he went terrible when he overraced” said Chau.
Newcastle four-year-old mare War Princess (9-4 to 13-8),trained by Todd Howlett, was given a nice run in the leading division all the way by Port hoop Peter Graham to score by 1.5 lengths in the O’Doherty Hospitality Supplies Maiden Plate over 1257m.
A step-up in distance from 1007m to 1257m of the Winning Post Function Centre Maiden Plate for local three-year-old filly Money Ad (5-1 to 7-2) allowed a half length win for trainer Bob Milligan and jockey Grant Buckley.
“The 1000m was too short and she has been unlucky in a few starts” said Milligan.
The addition of a tail chain certainly help turn around the form of five-year-old gelding Lopresti in its 1614m race.
“He has been hot and cold this preparation and I hope for some consistency” said Wilkes.
The trainer of Dane’s Bullet, Matthew Robinson, said his gelding won a race (this being its 13th) every preparation on a trot and canter routine whereas Stitt said of his beaten Shazza’s Bubbles. ”She was entitled to do better than that”
Stitt said he would continue the mare’s campaign towards the Arrowfield Queen of The North over 1200m.
Racing returns to Bushland Drive Racecourse on Tuesday, February 17, for the Krambach Race Club’s big TAB meeting.

Published on 30 April 2014

Planning is in the early stages for the 40th anniversary celebrations of the opening of the Bushland Drive Racecourse at its current location in September 1974.

There will be some special activities at the race meeting scheduled for Monday the 15th of September 2014 however the major celebration activity will be a dinner at the Winning Post Function Centre on Saturday the 4th of October.

We would love to hear from anybody who was involved in the construction of the new racecourse or had an involvement with the race club in the early years of the racetrack being at its current location.  Please call the race club office on 6552 1183 to express your interest in being involved in the celebrations or if you know the names of people who were involved with the race club in the early years at the Bushland Drive Racecourse.

Published on 25 June 2014


Local five-year-old gelding OneMoreEightmore’s (11-2) nose win was one of many exciting close finishes at Taree Wingham Race Club’s TAB meeting at Bushland Drive Racecourse on Thursday.
There was only one length back to the seventh galloper, that being four-year-old Port Macquarie mare Al Nova (5-2 favourite),in a spectacular finish to the Winning Post Function Centre Open Handicap over 1400m.
The win of the Bob Milligan-trained gelding, ridden by Coffs Harbour jockey Matt Bennett, compensated somewhat for its resuming run at Newcastle where it missed the start by about five lengths.
Milligan’s son, Glen, said apparently OneMoreEightmore resented a tongue-tie at Newcastle and this was removed for the Taree race.
Head syndicate owner, Alan Chiswick of Sydney, said the stronger rider helped “but he could have won by a bit more margin”.
A nose back was Broadmeadow gelding Man Of War (10-1),trained by Kris Lees, a half-head in front of Scone gelding Star Of Dubai (backed from 8-1 to 7-2),trained by Luke Griffith, with a nostril to Broadmeadow mare Slots, trained by Grant Marshall who is taking her to Doomben for her next start.
It was a blanket finish with perhaps Taree gelding Universal Belief and Al Nova, which was under the pump 600m out, being unlucky and worth following.
Milligan said he wasn’t contemplating sending OneMoreEightmore to cup carnival races and would probably rely on local country races.
Cessnock jockey Robert Thompson was on a couple of favoured horses early which failed but had a long neck win on six-year-old Cessnock mare Malabo (15-4),trained by Alan Smith, in the last race, the New Race Club Members Are Welcome Fillies & Mares Benchmark 55 Handicap over 1000m.
Second was Muswellbrook mare Darcy’s Delight (17-2),a nose in front of Taree mare Ruling Class (13-2),trained by Bob Haire.
“The jockey was a big bonus,” said Smith who had a rare win at the track.
Tuncurry trainer Terry Evans was happy with the advice given by Grafton jockey Matthew Paget about his four-year-old mare Mah Baker able to get more distance after she scored by just under a length in the Radio 2RE-1557 AM Fillies & Mares Class 1 Handicap over 1300m at her first try at the journey.
Part owner Sean Cross said the $2500-buy in having her second win was paying her way and would head to the Grafton Cup Carnival for her next start.
Paget had a winning double, also scoring a neck win on Wyong six-year-old gelding Battle Street (5-1),trained by Wayne Seelin, the big galloper flashing late in the Saxbys Celebrating 150 Years Entires & Geldings Benchamrk 55 Handicap over 1000m.
Port jockey Peter Graham also had a winning double on four-year-old gelding Friendsinlowplaces (2-1), bred by Port owner Chris Lloyd and trained by John Sprague, in the Max FM—107.3 Entires & Geldings Class 1 Handicap over 1300m and on Bensabluboy (25-1), trained at Taree by Bindi Cheers, in the Graeme Cook Bookmaker 3YO Country Plate over 1400m.
Sprague said Friendsinlowplaces was just starting to learn how to race and was showing a “lot of ticker”, having won two of its past three races.
Cheers said Bensabluboy had “eventually got his maiden out of the way” at start twelve and that may improve the gelding’s confidence.
Punters were spot on in backing four-year-old gelding Gaze on Gold from 9-2 to 15-8 as the galloper, trained at Gosford by Kevin Miller in a comeback to his profession and ridden a well-judged race by apprentice Samantha Clenton, had just under a length to spare on the line in the Taree’s Leading Sporting & Hospitality Venue Maiden Plate over 1400m.
Start 13 proved lucky for Taree four-year-old mare Hills Of Heather (9-2) as after four minor placings she won her first race for owner Moira Munro, trainer Nick Chambers and Broadmeadow jockey Alison Threadwell in leading all the way to score by a nose in the Manning-Gloucester-Great Lakes Business Awards Maiden Handicap over 1000m.
Racing returns to Taree on Monday July 14th for a TAB card for Taree Wingham Race Club at the picturesque Bushland Drive Racecourse.

Published on 17 April 2014


This very successful raceday was shadowed by much sadness following the untimely death of jockey Nathan Berry on the Thursday before this meeting.  Nathan had most recently ridden at Taree on the 2013 Taree Cup day where he was a most welcome and thoroughly professional jockey on the day.  Jockeys, stewards and club officials held a one minute of silence ceremony in front of the Winning Post just before Race 5 on the program.  Jockeys in Race 5 then wore blue armbands as a sign of remembrance of Nathan.

The reunion of the former Group 3 Saturday Rugby League competition drew 50-60 of the players and supporters to the first reunion day at the Taree races.  It is believed this event will grow in numbers in the coming years when more people become aware of it wish to meet up again with participants in this former popular competition.

Racegoers were very supportive of the Can Assist Committee by buying many tickets in their special raffle which was drawn on the day.  The proceeds figure from the day to the Can Assist charity will be finalised in the coming days.  The Can Assist Committee and Taree Wingham Race Club board wish to thank all racegoers for supporting this meeting and the Can Assist charity on the day.


Port Macquarie gelding Lopresti (20-1) nosed out two of the favourites in a thrilling finish at Taree Wingham Race Club’s mammoth nine-race TAB Can Assist fund raising charity meeting before a big crowd on Saturday.
In a deceptive finish which had connections guessing, the Wayne Wilkes-trained galloper just got the verdict over One Double (15-4) from Broadmeadow, with just under a length to consistent Port filly Flying Kistena (9-2),trained by Neil Godbolt.
“He handles the type of going (slow) and just needs a mile or further to do his best,” said Wilkes.
A solid pace was set in front by Taree gelding The Hulk (finished last) with most of the favoured runners back in the field, at one stage about eight lengths astern in a gap set up by the leaders in the Gregory Brownlee Memorial Class 3 Handicap over 1600m..
The jockeys then made their runs, this forcing most notably Flying Kistena the widest around the turn into the straight after making a searching run, while Lopresti was getting a good trail into the race.
Broadmeadow jockey Andrew Gibbons said Lopresti in getting to the lead then wanted to wait for the others.
“If he didn’t get going again, I would have been beaten…I have a sore throat yelling at him,” he said.
Lopresti’s head syndicate owner, Ron Scott,of Sydney, said he was enjoying having a horse with Wilkes, having known him when they were both in Sydney, and with the win, its third from 15 starts, the $5000 buy has prizemoney of around $34,000.
“I have a property at Dyers Crossing and Lopresti spells there.”
Flying Kistena wasn’t disgraced and has certainly earned her bridesmaid tag with 13 placings, along with two wins, from 16 starts, but should be followed.
Visiting horses again won most races with Mid North Coast gallopers notching another two wins.
One was by second starter, Port Macquarie two-year-old filly Deceptive (7-4), trained by Jenny Graham and ridden by her apprentice jockey Courtney Van Der Werf, in the Can Assist Fund Raising Raceday 2YO Country Plate over 1000m.
Deceptive scored by just under a length from first-starter, Coffs Harbour gelding Clemmensen (12-1),with a half-head to another first-starter, Godbolt’s gelding Dixie Lad (12-1).
Graham said she thought Deceptive could win first-up but had to settle for a second and thought the filly’s win was promising.
She bought the filly at the Scone Sales from BOBS bonuses earned by her Leviosa which is to be a broodmare after about seven wins.
Taree trainer Matthew Robinson hasn’t exactly got a nice word to say about four-year-old gelding Sprite Zah (14-1 with bookmakers, paid $23.20 on TAB) despite it scoring easily by two lengths for local jockey Robert Agnew in the Yarads Menswear Celebrating 80 Years Handicap over 1000m.
“He (the horse) is the best galloper in my stable but he is a raving lunatic,” the trainer said.
Robinson said Sprite Zah got itself into many problems, nearly going through a fence two starts back, through its waywardness.
“His last win was here about 12 months ago and he likes the cut out of the ground.”
A $6000 buy at the Magic Millions Sales,three-year-old filly Sofin (7-2), trained by Shannon Fry at Coffs Harbour and ridden by Raymond Spokes for owner Byron Fegan, had a half-head to spare in a thrilling finish to the Hot Water Maintenance Class 2 Handicap over 1250m at her first run since December 14.
“Beach work and swimming have kept her fit,” said Fry who only has a small team at Bowraville.
It was third start lucky for three-year-old filly Emma Jean (3-1) which scored by just under a length for Gosford trainer Kylie Gavenlock, Coffs jockey Matt Bennett and a syndicate of owners headed by Col Crawley in the Ausmulch Maiden Handicap over 1000m.
Punters were on target in backing second-starter three-year-old filly Epicoz from 14-1 to 7-1,she scoring easily by just under three lengths for Broadmeadow trainer Kris Lees and jockey Dale Spriggs in the Katunga Lucerne Maiden Plate over 1250m.
Spriggs had a winning double in scoring by a length on three-year-old gelding Blue Phantom (15-4 to 13-8),trained at Gosford by Adam Duggan,in the Taree Cup Day—August 24 Maiden Plate over 1250m.
Another Gosford filly, Bettabet Red (9-1),trained by Fred Cowell for his wife, Irene, and ridden by their apprentice jockey Alena Skerritt, scored by just under a length in the Taree & Wingham Produce Handicap over 1400m.
Twenty-year-old Skerritt won on the filly at its previous start at Tuncurry and the Taree win was her second, the filly being bought cheaply and has more than repaid its purchase price.
Broadmeadow three-year-old gelding Lukey (11-4),trained by Jason Deamer and ridden by Randwick apprentice jockey Taylor Marshall, had an easy win in the Castlereagh Feeds Maiden Handicap over 1400m at only its fourth start..


Published on 16 June 2014

DOUG RYAN’S Review of the $20,000 AUSTRALIAN HOTEL WINGHAM CUP Raceday on Friday the 6th of June 2014.

A disappointing 21 lengths beating at its previous start was erased with a solid win by Hawkesbury seven-year-old gelding Scottish Border (10-1) in the $20,000 The Australian Hotel Wingham Cup over 1600m at Taree Wingham Race Club’s TAB meeting at Bushland Drive Racecourse on a dead-rated track before a good crowd on Friday.
Stewards inquired into the bad run in the Provincial Stayer’s Cup over 2100m on May 3 but a patient ride by Gosford jockey Chris O’Brien gave trainer Garry Frazer his first win at the track at his first visit.
“He is a good horse when he is right…sometimes he lacks confidence,” said Frazer.
“I nearly got lost coming here but these country cups are good for him these days.”
Frazer hasn’t ruled out Scottish Border backing up in the $27,500 Wauchope Cup over 1500m at Port Macquarie Racecourse on Sunday.
Two starts back the gelding was third on the Kensington track but lost admirers after his last run, the trainer stating that his charge lost its chance after pulling hard when wide early.
O’Brien said he modelled the run on that of Hugh Bowman’s who was on board Scottish Border when it won the Bathurst Cup on February 23.
It was only the gelding’s sixth win in 54 starts but the win took its earnings to nearly $362,000, a long way ahead of any other runner in the race.
Four-year-old Taree gelding Single Spirit, trained by Ross Stitt and ridden by Robert Thompson, fired up well at the start, was in the leading bunch about 600m out but couldn’t justify the punter’s faith to send the galloper out a 5-2 favourite in finishing fourth, second going to Taree’s Al’s Gold, and third to Scone gelding Knot Out which eased from 6-4 favourite to 5-1 with bookmakers.
Stitt said of Single Spirit’s run: ”Probably short of a run (its first since May 4).”
The South Grafton Cup bound gelding may also back up in the Wauchope Cup on Sunday.
The race club’s Vice Chairman, Allan Skinner, in presenting the trophy, paid tribute to the sponsors, especially Wez Zuber from The Australian Hotel, the good crowd and Frazer on the win by just under a length.
O’Brien had a winning double, also scoring on four-year-old mare Flying By (10-1) trained at Gosford by his fiancée Carmen Murnane, also notching her first win at Taree, in The Australian Hotel Class 1 Handicap over 1250m.
“I have only had the mare for three starts and she has improved with every run.”
Murnane only has two horses in training and was given the day off by John Singleton, for whom she works for at his racehorse stud, Strawberry Hill.
Although the eight-race card was dominated by visiting gallopers, having six of the winners, Taree trainer Bart Dening scored with first-starter Cash Spinner ($15.30 TAB for win), ridden by apprentice Matthew McGuren for local publican Gary Rollings, in the Become A Taree Wingham Race Club Member 2YO Handicap over 1250m.
Stitt’s Flying Seba put in an excellent run for a half-length second after being wide, with the two fillies being related to Heavenly Glow, which was part-owned by Rolling’s late father, Bill, the mare winning nearly $1 million in major races in Sydney (Australian Oaks) and Brisbane.
“This is the first runner I have owned outright,” said Gary who raced the filly in his father’s colours.
The other winner from the Mid North Coast Association was three-year-old Taree filly Sheza Gypsy (7-1) which made it two wins from two starts for trainer Michael Byers in the Wingham Services Club Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1000m.
Both Byers and Broadmeadow jockey Dale Spriggs predicted a good future for the filly, owned by Fred and Desleigh Monsour of Queensland.
Hawkesbury trainer Tony McEvoy had two runners, three-year-old fillies Chastened (11-8) and Tonalli (11-4), both ridden by Broadmeadow’s Andrew Gibbons, and both winning their races, the first by a length in the Winning Post Function Centre Maiden Plate over 1000m at its first run from a spell and the latter by a long neck in the Taree Cup Carnival—August 22 and 24 Maiden Handicap over 1400m and its fourth run.
An unlucky fourth at its previous start at the track was followed with a saloon passage win for three-year-old filly Blue Garter (7-2) for Newcastle trainer Todd Howlett and jockey Robert Thompson in the Wingham Services Club Country Class 1 Plate over 1600m.
Four-year-old gelding Source Of Harmony, backed from 5-1 to 11-4,justified the support with an easy two lengths win for Broadmeadow trainer Grant Marshall and Kempsey jockey Terry Treichel in the David Barber Bricklaying Class 3 Handicap over 1300m.
Marshall had nominated last start Taree winner Slots for this race but decided it would try its chances at Randwick on Monday and relied on Source Of Harmony to do the trick.
Racing returns to Bushland Drive Racecourse on Thursday, June 19 for an eight-race TAB program.