Former Wingham, international and back in Sydney jockey Corey Brown has picked up the plumb ride on Taree mare Shotgun Roulette as she strives to win the $400,000 Country Final of The Championships at Royal Randwick on April 1.
Trainer Wayne Wilkes said Brown has agreed to ride the four-year-old in the $150,000 Mid North Coast Racing Association’s Qualifying heat over 1400m at Bushland Drive Racecourse on February 26.
Should she qualify for the 1400m final at the record $370,000 Taree Wingham Race Club’s Showcase TAB meeting,he will ride her in the final.
To be in the final she has to win or run second on February 26.
Wilkes said his mare had thrived since scoring stylishly in the $70,000 Arrowfield Queen Of The North Handicap for fillies and mares over 1200m at Port Macquarie on February 3.
He doesn’t intend to give her another run before the qualifier as she races best when fresh.
In three campaigns,Shotgun Roulette has won twice first-up and had a second.
His apprentice Chloe Baker did a wonderful job to score on the mare, arriving from back in the field, in the Queen Of The North and he was reluctant to replace her.
“She hasn’t ridden in Sydney and I believe it pays to have a senior rider who knows racing there to be on my mare.
“Serious money is involved in the qualifier and the final and connections want the experience of Brown,” Wilkes said.
They are Brian Manuel,Alan and Bruce Cable,Steve Powers and Peter Hudson,friends from Sydney, who have raced horses with Wilkes in the past.
Shotgun Roulette was bought for $8000 as a two-year-old at the Magic Millions Sale and in 13 starts has notched three wins and three seconds for prizemoney of nearly $90,000.
She is by Casino Prince from Six Guage, her dam having been trained by Wilkes for a six lengths win at Taree before doing a tendon at her second start and being retired.
Shotgun Roulette wasn’t disgraced when tackling the rich three-year-old races in Sydney and at Kembla Granage as a middle distance stayer but Wilkes now believes her best distances are 1400m to 1600m.
As for her demeanour—“She has a few quirks.
“She is usually quiet when she has her own space but if that is invaded,she is inclined to let out a kick to let you know who is boss,” Wilkes said.
He has stuck with the breed and has a three-year-old full sister and a two-year-old half-brother (by Monaco Consul) to Shotgun Roulette getting ready to race.
Brown started as an apprentice jockey with trainer Eric Anderson at Taree and rode his first winner,Another Square, for the late Taree trainer Bob Dodd.
In 2009, Brown had a highlight of his career when he rode Shocking to win the Melbourne Cup, the Taree Wingham Race Club celebrating the win by naming the Corey Brown Pavilion in his honour at Bushland Drive Racecourse.
A crowd of 3000 attended last year’s Mid North Coast qualifying heat meeting in Taree and race club officials expect a similar response on the February 26.
The meeting will be the richest conducted at Bushland Drive, with $370,000 in prizemoney to be distributed.