Harnova is set to enhance his iron horse reputation and vindicate trainer Neil Godbolt’s decision not to use a claiming apprentice in the juvenile opener at Taree on Friday.
Godbolt resisted the temptation to reduce Harnova’s massive 63kg impost, believing the gelding is best suited with an experienced jockey.
“I’m happy to have Ben Looker ride Harnova as this horse can be a bit of a handful,’’ he said. “Sometimes when you claim on a horse like him, you are taking 3kg off but putting 10kg on. But he’s a strong, tough, honest two-year-old and he carries weight well. He should be hard to beat.’’
Harnova has been one of the most active and successful juveniles in training this season. He is lining up for his eighth start in Taree, having already won three times and being placing in three others.
Harnova comes out of a strong two-year-old race at Port Macquarie where he was closing fast to finish less than a length away in third place behind Elli’s Encore and Aqua Chimera.
The runner-up provides a relevant form reference as she had finished second at her previous start at Kempsey, finishing alongside Imperial Eagle in the race won easily by Odds Or Evens. Imperial Eagle looms at the main danger to Harnova and he gets 6.5kg off Harnova.
Godbolt is also upbeat about the chances of Morning Fare in the Class 3 Handicap (1300m).
Morning Fare is in very good form, scoring two wins at Port Macquarie over 1500m, with a Kemsey second sandwiched between those successes.
Godbolt maintained that the gelding was versatile enough to cope with the shorter distance.
“He is certainly no world-beater but he is racing consistently,’’ Godbolt said. “I’m not worried about the 1300m but he has had four starts at Taree and hasn’t really fired yet. At least he is in winning form for this race and he has trained on well.’’
The feature race is the $25,000 Wingham Cup (1600m) which has attracted a full field of 14, bookmakers are betting $6 the field with Rustic Melody and Last Try Wins equal favourites.
Rustic Melody never got into the race when resuming at Rosehill behind Dagny but that was on a soft track and she is much better on a firmer surface. Taree was rated a Soft 5 but is likely to be upgraded.
Trainer Kristen Buchanan is confident improving Oakfield Midnight can maintain winning form in the Class 1 and Maiden Plate (1600m).
Buchanan has placed Oakfield Midnight to advantage as the gelding is coming out of an impressive all-the-way win in a Newcastle 1400m maiden. “He is a really nice horse, he gets in with a good weight and this looks a suitable race for him,” Buchanan said.
BEST BET: DON’T DOUBT HER (Race 8, No. 5)
Don’t Doubt Her needed the run at Hawkesbury when fifth in Wanna Get A What’s TAB Highway but her run at Scone was sound when seventh to Cadogan. She will be improved by those two runs and finds herself in a very winnable race here. She looks very hard to beat.
NEXT BEST: L’APPEL DU VIDE (Race 3, No. 8)
L’appel Du Vide made her debut at Gunnedah and shaped promisingly for third to Prickles over 1000m in fast time. She raced up on speed and fought on well to be beaten less than a length. She should take natural improvement out of that debut effort, drawn well and this is not a strong race.
Quaddie — R5: 2, 4, 5, 6; R6: 2, 3, 6; R7: 5, 6, 8; R8: 2, 5.
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW: GRANT BUCKLEY
Buckley has a strong book of seven rides at the Taree meeting including Explosive Scene in the Wingham Cup. His other rides including We’re Smokin (race 2), L’appel Du Vide (race 3) and Leica’s Lass (race 8).
TRAINER TO FOLLOW: BRETT CAVANOUGH
Cavanough is sending five runners to Taree and each looks a very competitive chance. There is first starter Aglet (race 2), L’appel Du Vide (race 3), Al Cubana (6), Last Try Wins in the Wingham Cup (7) and Leica’s Lass (race 8).
Donnelly has faith in quartet
SOLEADO is promising, Magic Miranda is capable of winning again, Plenary can improve on a firmer track and Dynamic Concept will run his usual honest race.
This was how trainer Tim Donnelly summed up his four representatives this afternoon.
The Australian debut of the unbeaten former New Zealander Soleado in the Benchmark 70 Handicap (1400m) is one of the most intriguing elements of the meeting.
Donnelly watched replays of Soleado’s wins at Matamata and Tauranga earlier this season and was so impressed he successfully negotiated the purchase of the four-year-old gelding.
“Soleado’s wins were very good,’’ he said. “In his first start, he was last early, got out late and ran home strongly. Then in his second race he was up outside the leader and did it tough but still won well.’’
Soleado, by 2002 AJC Australian Derby winner Don Eduardo, was sent to Donnelly in late January, enjoyed a late summer spell and is doing everything right in his preparation, the trainer declared.
“The 1400m is probably short of his best but it will be interesting to see how he goes,’’ Donnelly said.
Magic Miranda, a daughter of top sire Magic Albert, also takes winning form into the Benchmark 55 Handicap (1000m).
“I only had the filly in my stable for a couple of weeks before she won her maiden at Wagga,’’ Donnelly said. “But I had watched her earlier races when she was being ridden up on the speed and I thought if we ride her in behind she will be better suited.
“She dropped back to 1000m and settled her behind the leaders and although she was in the best part of the track, she did win well. I think sitting off the pace is the key to her.’’
Donnelly said Plenary would appreciate getting on to a good track for the Two-Year-Old Handicap (1300m), while Dynamic Concept was an each-way chance in the Benchmark 60 Handicap over 2000m.
BEST BET: ITSA FAIT ACCOMPLI (Race 4, No. 6)
Itsa Fait Accompli broke through to win a class 1 over 1800m at Gundagai in the spring and his two runs this preparation have been primed for Friday’s race. His effort in the Wagga Guineas to finish third, less than a half length from the winner Exocet was outstanding. He is taking on older horses here but he is promising and is ready to win.
NEXT BEST: DANETRILLE (Race 2, No. 1)
has been racing well although he is finding it hard to win. From 10
starts, he has managed six minor placings. This preparation he has been
in the money all four starts including his second behind Captain Charlie
over 1200m here earlier this week. If he backs up, he can finally
breakthrough as the firm track conditions are in his favour.
Ladbrokes Free Sign Up Bonus Bets New customers Deposit $25 and get $75 in Bonus bets * or Free Sign Up Bonus Bets Deposit match up to $500*