Taree trainer Ross Dawson is staging a two-pronged attack in an excellent field of nominations in the feature race at Manning Valley Race Club’s TAB meeting at Bushland Drive Racecourse on Tuesday.
He has nominated recent winners eight-year-old gelding Clune’s Rocket and five-year-old mare Lippy And Pearls for the Winning Post Function Centre Handicap over 1312m.
Both gallopers have had a slight let-up since racing last and should be fresh for what could be regarded as their best distance.
Clune’s Rocket scored at the Bushland Drive track on December 18 and has since run fourth to Wanna Be A Jeep over 1450m at Kempsey.
In his past four starts he has been no further back than fourth and retains his zest for racing.
Lippy And Pearls didn’t get the best of runs when favoured and fourth in the Hannam Vale Cup at this track on December 18.
She was beaten by Tuesday’s race rival Hippy High Ho, trained at Port Macquarie by Neil Godbolt.
Newcastle gelding Zigamore, trained by Jason Deamer, was third in that race and it has since won over 1600m at the track on January 4 in a strong form race.
Hippy High Ho since the cup win has placed second to Cousin Jackie on his home track on January 12.
Taree trainer Michael Byers has his first runner since coming back from an extended holiday in talented seven-year-old mare Who Is Game.
Byers said she has been working well and has placed (three times in six campaigns) when resuming.
A lot depends on whether Taree trainer Wayne Wilkes’ two, Fuel and Gripped, start as they are entered for richer races at the provincials and in Sydney.
Five-year-old gelding Fuel is knocking on the door for a win after two close seconds at its past two outings.
Six-year-old gelding Gripped has had two wins from its past four starts, one of them being a handy sixth in a Highway race last week.
Newcastle trainer Kris Lees cannot be left out of any calculations after three wins from four starters at Taree on Monday.
He has seven-year-old gelding All Summer Long ready to pounce after a length fourth to Kool Vinnie over 1250m at Canterbury on January 10.
Two starts back the gelding was second to Southern Flight over the same distance at Taree and has placed twice at the track from only two starts.
The XXXX Gold Benchmark 60 Handicap over 2018m has two in-form runners in
Kempsey’s Fastquest and Newcastle’s More Than A Holiday.
Fastquest, trained by Vince Jones, was third to Zigamore at Taree before being an unlucky second in the Highway race at Royal Randwick last Saturday.