NOMINATIONS, there being 16 as far as yesterday, have been extended until today for the $60,000 XXXX Gold Taree Cup (2000m), the feature race for an about $300,000 two-day cup carnival this Friday and Sunday at Bushland Drive Racecourse,Taree.
Some classy gallopers from Sydney stables and some top notch local gallopers are among present nominations, in particular Praecido from the Rosehill stable of David Payne, Fill The Page, trained at Warwick Farm by David Vandyke and Prestidigate from the Hawkesbury establishment of Lisa Cohen and Oldrich Jiricka.
An interesting nomination is Code Word, trained by John Marzol from Moruya.
In form Gosford galloper Loaded, with wins in Sydney and Brisbane of late, is a top hope for the Grant Allard stable.
Three of the first four placegetters in the Taree Cup Prelude, winner Power Shot, trained at Wyong by Jeff Englebrecht, Danesiri (third), trained at Port by Wayne Wilkes and Jack's Song (fourth), trained at Wyong by Bob Holloway are listed.
A home track victory may rest with four-year-old gelding Single Spirit, trained by Ross Stitt, which has won four races this preparation and was a fighting second to Pepperwood from Queensland in the $80,000 Coffs Harbour Cup over 1600m about a fortnight ago.
Single Spirit is stepping up to 2000m for the first time but Stitt believes the journey is attainable on the galloper's pedigree and racing pattern.
Stitt, who has also nominated recent winner Count The Chimes, had last year's favourite in Southern Shimmer which finished second to Gosford gelding The Paymaster.
Taree trainer Bindi Cheers, who has a cup winner with Quadri, has nominated recent good form gallopers Zar Zar Binks and Phrases.
More than 200 nominations have been received for this Friday's eight-card TAB meeting, the first day of the two-day carnival.
The feature $20,000 Class 2 Handicap over 1400m has attracted 20 nominations from Tamworth, Scone, Wyong, Gosford, Broadmeadow, Coffs Harbour as well as the Mid North Coast.
Included are last start or recent winners Star Secret and Scorpion Prince from Broadmeadow, General Store from Wauchope and two better credentialed home track chances in A Touching Moment, beaten less than a neck when third last start to Star Secret and another from the Stitt stable in Idovoodoo which was scratched from Kempsey on Saturday.
The chances of a reasonable track with plenty of drying weather augurs well for some classic races with tight finishes.
Some of the gallopers will be striking those conditions for the first time in recent times and some upsets are likely.
I will preview both meetings and give selections in Friday's edition.