Six-year-old Taree gelding Chalcedony ($6) enhanced its chances for a start in the $32,000 Wauchope Cup at Port Macquarie Racecourse on Sunday, June 17 with a solid win at Taree on Friday.
The Matthew Robinson trained galloper overcame the outside barrier to score by just under a length in the Johnson and Thompson Chartered Accountants Benchmark 60 Handicap over 1609m on a heavy 10 track.
Chalcedony, ridden by Allan Chau, was backing up from a third behind Invicta in the Wingham Cup over 1600m and Sunday’s race is over 1500m.
Robinson was happy with Chalcedony’s consistency at its last four or five starts and will weigh up the gelding’s progress after some hard runs.
“He likes heavy tracks and Taree but hasn’t run as well at Port in the last year,” he said.
In 47 starts Chalcedony has had nine starts at Port for two wins at 1500m in 2014 and 2015, was third to Sofin (2.3 lengths) in a Port Cup Prelude over 1812m, but in three starts at the track in the past year the gelding’s best run was for sixth.
“He just doesn’t seem to handle Port these days.”
Chau was more positive saying that the win was “deserved” and Chalcedony went to the line good.
There is little doubt that the conditions may have led to the easing favourite, I Am Awesome ($5), from the Newcastle stables of Kris Lees, running second as its three wins from eight starts have been on good tracks.
Port hope O’Driscoll ($9.50), a big winner on his home track for trainer Tas Morton on May 18, led from a wide barrier but wilted to 8th, beaten 6.38 lengths, in a forgive run.
The trainer and his jockey Ben Looker had more luck with three-year-old gelding Mister Smartee ($5.50, paid $5.80 TAB) which led and cruised to a just under a length win in the WIN Television Class 3 Handicap over 1408m.
Morton said he was never surprised at what his galloper could do.
Looker notched his 91 st win for the season on Mister Smartee and said that the gelding had come back a lot better from a let-up and had done a good job.
Morton’s target is the $80,000 Grafton Guineas next month but may send his gelding to Sydney for a Highway race on Saturday.
Newcomer to the Port training ranks, Lisa Sheppard, celebrated with her first win at Taree with second-starter, four-year-old Gordon’s Leap ($24 to $11) in the Stacks Law Firm CG and E Maiden Handicap over 1255m, jockey Chad Lever having a neck margin to spare on the line.
The 17.2 hands Arlington gelding had three months off after going off in a float and was having its first run since being unplaced in a race at Canterbury in November.
The “good thing” of the day, four-year-old gelding Jexerlent ($1.90), trained by Brian Garvey and ridden by Louise Day, didn’t let punters down in leading all the way to score by two lengths to make it two wins from two starts at the track in the Upbound Benchmark 64 Handicap over 1255m.
Taree trainer Ross Stitt, on a European holiday, won some spending money with two-year-old filly But I Know ($6.50) , ridden by Gran Buckley, showing her promise in beating older gallopers by a head in the Mid Coast Automotive Group F and M Maiden Handicap over 1308m.
Buckley grabbed a winning double in scoring by just under a length on first-starter, three-year-old gelding Texas Storm ($21) for Taree trainer Bob Milligan in the Morgan’s Port Macquarie Maiden Plate over 1005m.
Wyong mare Ondo Pasa ($2.30), trained by Stan Thomas and ridden by Rachael Murray, scored by a length from Port’s Saint Denis ($6) in the GPB Partners Accountants and Business Advisors Class 1 Handicap over 1255m.
- Hoofnote: Doug Ryan had a good day on the tip in having six winners and six quinellas in his selections, one winner on top being Port’s Gordon’s Leap at $11.